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City receives $2M for sewer upgrades

 

UTILITY UPGRADES – Humboldt received almost $2-million for upgrades to the utility department’s sewer system. Humboldt Utilities Operations Supervisor Landon Mason (from left), Derrick Smith, Cameron Martin and Jaylen Montague pull the lid off one of the manholes to show the old brick wall inside. Some of these will be sprayed with a water seal to keep ground water from seeping into the sewer system.

 

by DANNY WADE  |  Senior Editor

dwade@hchronicle.net

 

The city of Humboldt is literally about to flush $2-million down the drain. Humboldt is one of many Tennessee cities or counties to receive grants to do infrastructure upgrades to water and wastewater systems.

Last Friday, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced the list of cities and counties that will receive grant funds. Humboldt will receive $1,929,349 of the almost $3-billion of the state’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) administered by TDEC.

Humboldt Mayor Marvin Sikes said Humboldt Utilities General Manager Alex Smith has been working on the grant for almost two years now. The city will receive the grant funds, which will be used by Humboldt Utilities to do upgrades on the city’s aging sewer system.

“We plan to concentrate on the west side of town to rehab sewer lines,” GM Smith said. “Sewer lines connect together at joints. Over the years, pipes and joints deteriorate, and rain water and ground water can infiltrate holes in those joints. Same goes for manhole that are made of concrete or brick.”

“Two-million dollars sounds like a lot of money—and it is—but it might not go as far as you might think,” Smith said. “Humboldt Utilities will use the grant funds to repair and upgrade as many locations as possible.”

Smith said Humboldt Utilities has a camera system they use to run through sewer pipes and joints to find compromised areas. He said the utility department will purchase a new, upgraded system using a portion of the grant funds.

Repairing manholes will also be part of the overall project. Smith said they will use a spray water seal that will encapsulate the bricks or concrete to keep ground water from seeping into the sewer system.

“As Tennessee continues to experience unprecedented growth, we’re prioritizing critical infrastructure investments that will address the needs of Tennesseans and give local communities the resources needed to thrive,” Gov. Bill Lee said in a press release from the state. “We look forward to the improvements these projects will bring, and we commend the communities who have gone through the application process.”

According to the TDEC press release, “The city of Humboldt will use ARP funds to reduce infiltration and inflow in the collection system as well as modernize the sewer collection system. This will protect the sewers and manholes from hydrogen sulfide and reduce infiltration and inflow into the system by using cured-in-place pipe and coating the manholes with a multi-layer polymer system.”

Humboldt Utilities has a brand new, state of the art, multimillion-dollar wastewater treatment plant. Smith said repairing and upgrading the sewer lines and manholes will take a big load off of the amount of ground and rainwater making its way to the treatment plant, which in turn will save money.

Smith said Humboldt Utilities Operations Supervisor of the Wastewater Department Landon Mason and his crew are already identifying trouble spots in the sewer system and making a list.

The TDEC press release included statements from Tennessee’s lieutenant governor, speaker of the house and TDEC commissioner.

“More than ever, infrastructure is critically important to our local communities,” said Lt. Gov. Randy McNally. “This money will allow cities and towns to address deficiencies and make improvements that will pay dividends not just in the present but in the years to come as well. I greatly appreciate the work of the governor and my colleagues on the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group for their work in making sure these funds were spent appropriately and efficiently.”

“We continue experiencing considerable growth across the state, and many of our communities require additional resources to address their evolving needs,” said Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton. “These grants will play a major role in ensuring cities and towns have access to infrastructure solutions that will enable them to continue thriving so Tennessee remains a preferred destination for both businesses and families.”

“We are grateful to the local applicants, and we anticipate excellent results from these grants,” said TDEC Commissioner David Salyers. “This shows that Tennessee recognizes the need for improved water infrastructure, and we are grateful for the leadership of Governor Lee and the General Assembly in seeing that communities get this assistance.”

Other area cities receiving ARP funds are Jackson, Rutherford, Bells, Gleason, Lexington, Bethel Springs, Bruceton, Maury City, Dresden, Decaturville, Parsons, Trezevant and Union City. Area counties include Madison, Tipton, Henry, Lake, Dyer, Hardeman and Henderson.

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