Jackson is poised to take another bite out of its consent decree requirements, following the recent approval of a contract to design work for the Eubanks Creek interceptor repair project.
The interceptor is a major sewer main that serves residents and businesses in Fondren.
Problems with the 30-inch-wide pipe have led to numerous sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), a major reason behind the city’s need for a consent decree, as well as a contact advisory on the creek.
SSOs occur when untreated sewage leaks from the city’s collector system and gets into the environment. When the waste enters waters classified as “Waters of the U.S.,” the city is fined.
But the city is moving forward with plans to repair the interceptor. Last week, the council approved hiring Southern Consultants to design improvements for it.
The contract is for an amount not to exceed $313,144 and will include designing improvements for a section of the pipe running along the creek from Cavalier Drive to the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum, according to Engineering Manager Charles Williams.
“We hope to get the design done and get it bid out next year,” he said.
The overflows have likely occurred because of the pipe’s age. The city determined there was a problem with the interceptor a year or two ago after tracing back an SSO that occurred at the Ag Museum.
“The interceptor is a concrete line that needs to be slip-lined or cured in place,” Williams said. “Concrete lines become disjointed and we want to get them sealed.”
The line is approximately 50 years old, he said.
Between January 1 and March 28, the most recent data available on the city’s website, 14 SSOs have reached Eubanks Creek.
Of those, three have resulted from excessive flows, meaning that water likely infiltrated the city’s sewer collection system at one point.
Water infiltrates the sewer system at the interceptor following heavy storms, which cause Eubanks Creek to rise and enter the interceptor at weak/broken points.
In 2012, Jackson entered into a sewer consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Justice to make repairs to the sewer system. In all, the work is expected to cost the city between $600 million and $800 million.
Jackson is currently renegotiating terms of the decree with the federal government.