The Houston City Council received a report Monday that details infiltration of water into its wastewater treatment system.
Officials with Trekk Design Group LLC, which has an office in Springfield, reported on a study it conducted last year that measured excess water coming to its sewer plant and performed smoke testing of pipes to determine problem areas. Municipalities study the problem to reduce costs of treatment. Much of the issue represents rainwater that somehow penetrates sewer lines and ends up at the wastewater treatment plant.
A three-member team from Trekk presented its findings that earlier included smoke testing about 36,000 feet of line, monitoring what arrives at the plant northeast of the downtown business district and examining manholes. A Small Community Engineering Assistance Grant through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources helped pay for the work. The grants are targeted for municipalities with a population of less than 10,000.
Some observations from the study:
•As much as 50 percent of the infiltration may be coming from problems on private property. Some communities have developed programs to pay for repairs.
•The problem is expensive: The firm identified problems that over 20 years could cost $5 million to fix, if the city wanted to tackle the issue. It is estimated that the city may have as many as 30 miles of lines in the city.
•The west part of town seemed to have the biggest problem.
Harley Coulter, supervisor, told the council following the presentation that he wanted to be pro-active and identify trouble spots that could make a difference by repairing. Further discussion will occur.
In other matters, members:
•Heard from Lt. Brad Evans of the Houston Police Department who reported on two MoDOT 100-percent, one-year grants that are sought. One would target hazardous moving violations and the other focuses on DWI enforcement.
•Will have the Houston Police Department study security at the Houston Visitors Center. The chamber asked for a review after incidents where transients occasionally enter the facility. One recent visit caused concerns, reported President Bruce Scheets.
•Authorized its donation of $4,000 for the annual community fireworks show to be paid to the chamber. That allows the organization to capture an additional 15 percent savings by paying early.
•Adjourned into a closed session to meet with Texas County commissioners related to a Community Improvement District earlier approved by the council to benefit the county hospital.
As the search for a new Houston city administrator continues, Houston Mayor Don Tottingham says local government is working well.
Tottingham made the comments at Monday night’s city council meeting. The mayor, who is nearing the end of his tenure, said department heads are working well together to take care of day-to-day business. Tottingham did not seek re-election. Tottingham and supervisors are in charge of daily operations. The mayor said he appreciated the assistance of the city workforce during the transition.
“Everything is working well,” Tottingham said.
The council continues to take applications for the post, which became vacant when the council sought the departure of Tona Bowen last month. Bowen had the job for about 18 months.