EPA Closes File on Laurel

Posted on: May 7, 2015

Since 2009, the City of Laurel has spent a total of $20,587,286.52 on sanitary sewer system infrastructure operation, repair and replacement. That is an average of over $5.1 million per year of your tax dollars at work. With two wastewater treatment plants, wastewater collection and transmission systems that consist of approximately 136 miles of sanitary sewer pipes, 49 pump stations and equipment, the City of Laurel serves approximately 19,760 residential, business and industrial customers.

The City of Laurel received a letter form the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last September requesting four years of data on how the city was managing and operating its sanitary sewer system. The Capacity Management, Operation and Maintenance Program (CMOM) for the City of Laurel water system, operated by United Water, was developed in accordance with the EPA. The main goals of this program are to provide adequate capacity to convey base and peak flows throughout the system and to minimize and prevent sanitary sewer overflows (SSO’s) in order to protect the environment and public health.

After responding to the initial request from the EPA, a delegation came to Laurel in December to inspect the sewer system.

Then in April, 2015, Laurel Public Works Director and City Engineer Lorenzo Anderson, along with United Water executives traveled to Atlanta to meet over the findings from the EPA inspection. The team presented the EPA with a list of proactive projects and investments made by the City. It included the following:

Large Equipment Purchases

  • Vac Con/Jet Truck, Backhoe, Dump Truck, CCTV Truck, Smoke testing Equipment.

Pump Station Improvements Phase I & II

SRF Sewer Improvements

  • Rehabilitated 19,574 LF of Sewer Main
  • Replaced 35, 921 LF of Sewer Mains
  •  812  VLF of Manhole rehabilitation
  • 74 Manhole replacements
  • 7,730 Sewer Main rehabilitation
  • Installation of 2300 linear feet of new Sewer Main to allow for additional capacity and prevent SSO’s

Massey & Smyly WWTP

  • Replaced electrical wiring for RAS Pumps
  • Instituted a Sludge Removal Program
  • Replace RAS Control System

Less than one week after the presentation in Atlanta, the EPA phoned Randy Dias, Area Manager for United Water, and asked that he thank the Mayor personally.

“On behalf of the EPA for all the work the City has done. The EPA also stated that it was closing the file on Laurel and there would be no further action. They looked forward to visiting the City again in a few years to see how much more progress the City has made.” said Dias.

“The City has much to be proud of. All the information we have been able to find from other cities and online. We have not found any city in Mississippi that has not been fined and received a Consent Order from the EPA after one of these inspections. This shows that the proactive programs that the Mayor and city council have put in place and has been diligently working on has paid amazing dividends. The results of no action from the EPA is an amazing achievement and one the City and all the residents should be proud of,” Dias stated.