Manhole rehabilitation underway in Valdosta

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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 8, 2019

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Another phase of improvements is now underway on the Valdosta City sewer system as crews headed out on Monday to start a long-term project to rehab manholes.

The project is one in a series of steps the city is taking to try to prevent sewage backups and spills.

Rehabilitating the manholes is just one part of the city's effort to make improvements to the entire sewer system. Officials say the work can help lead to improvements going all the way to the wastewater treatment plants.

"We went and identified manholes that had issues, such as leaks, breaks, cracks, all those things you can think of. Those are called extremely poor manholes, so we try and get those first," said Feretz Berrian, Assistant Superintendent, Central Lines Maintenance Division. "Whenever you have infiltration of inflow, it overwhelms the sewer system, and therefore causes backups throughout the city, damage to the pipes."

Crews spent the day pressure cleaning each manhole then lined them with cement before spraying them with a protective coating to create something of a shell. Officials say this ensures that nothing can leak out and water can't get in, something that'll save both time and tax dollars.

"If these holes just leak like they do, you have one sewage going into the ground, which is a no-go anyways," said Steven Koestner, a senior supervisor with PCI. "And two, you have all that groundwater pouring into the sewer. Well, the city has to pay for that groundwater that's actually clean water to be cleaned again at their plant."

Crews are starting on the manholes that are in most need of repair.

The process is expected to last about 20 years. The city plans to do this type of rehabilitation on every manhole throughout the city. They hope to be done with this batch by the end of the fiscal year and then move onto the next.

Staff says there are more than 6,000 manholes throughout Valdosta, and they hope to start rehabbing the next group in July.