City plans upgrades to sewer and water

City plans upgrades to sewer and water

A public meeting was held on June 11 at the Martin-Idle Hour Community Center to present information to the public about improvements planned for the waste water treatment plant and the drinking water system as a part of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program. 

Summerville Road Watermain Extension

Inadequate pressure, slightly above 20 psi, along Summerville Road is due to high ground elevations and the relatively low hydraulic grade of the Glenwood ground storage tank. Customers typically require pressures between 40 psi and 80 psi, so an improvement project has been recommended to increase customer satisfaction and decrease liability to the city. 

The city is proposes to add 9,500 feet of eight-inch water main to fix the low pressure problem. A new main will be installed from the Glenwood elevated storage tank, which will increase pressure to at least 80 psi. The work is expected to begin sometime this fall. 




Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements

Located at 1600 State Docks Road, the Wastewater Treatment Plant is in need of expansion to meet ADEM compliance. A total of 31 violations were found by ADEM and presented in Consent Order 14-104-CWP, dated March 2017. The following is an excerpt from the report, which is a description of the violations:

“The CO cites Phenix City with 31 violations of the NPDES Permit AL0022209 and several violations of Alabama Code 22-22-9(i)(3). The violations of the permit are for exceedances of the Total Ammonia Nitrogen permit discharge limit, late discharge monitoring reports (DMR’s), incomplete toxicity testing at the WWTP, and failure to adequately operate the WWTP. The other violations of Alabama Code are for unpermitted discharges resulting from sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs).”

Since 2017, most of the issues have been resolved; however, maximum flows have compromised the city’s ability to continue compliance. Also, heavy and excessive rain has caused flows to exceed sewer capacity. 

“They (ADEM) don’t care what it costs,” Smith said. “But it needs to be clean. The water we put back into the river is cleaner than the water we take out of the river. Part of our responsibility is to help keep our environment clean, and people downriver from us shouldn’t be suffering for what we do like we did from Atlanta for so many years.”




Several improvements have been proposed, the first being an upgrade an expansion to the plant by upgrading treatment technology and expanding capacity to 7.75 MGD since maximum flows are approaching capacity. Also, the sewer collection system needs to be rehabilitated as several defects have been identified. Repairs are needed to manhole linings, sewer pipe linings, sewer pipe points, and replace is needed of sewer pipe in some areas as well as lateral repairs. Another needed improvement is to the Bridgewater Drive sewer to eliminate sewer bottleneck. Last, installation of 2,000 feet of new 10-inch gravity sewer is needed from Alpha Drive to Explorer Drive. This will redirect flows away from the undersized Saddlebrook sewer lift station. 

If approved, improvements will be funded by the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program, which will be repaid using wastewater revenues. Current Phenix City sewer usage rates are as follows: per 1,000 gallons of water usage is $4.25 with a minimum charge of $12.75 and a maximum residential charge of $42.54. 

The Waste Water Treatment Plant Expansion cost is listed as $4,304,000 on the State Revolving Fund pre-application. The city also received a $1,985,000 grant from the Federal Department of Commerce for additional projects–a total cost of $6,230,000. The sewer collection system inspection and repair cost is $3,122,000, the Bridgewater Drive Sewer cost is $470,000, the Saddlebrook Sewer project cost is $249,000, and engineering and administrative services costs are $1,300,000 with a contingency of $1,404,200. The total SRF Clean Water pre-application amount is $10,600,200.  The Summerville Water Line project comes in at $765,800.