Replacement system planned for 76-year-old sewage plant - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Replacement system planned for 76-year-old sewage plant

Pinckneyville sewage plant laboratory (Source: Loreto Cruz KFVS) Pinckneyville sewage plant laboratory (Source: Loreto Cruz KFVS)

A lot of people in Pinckneyville Illinois are looking to the city's new mayor to help clean up the town in a far more literal sense than you may think.

Workers at the water department say the town's nearly 80 year old sewage plant doesn't meet demands, which has caused some residents to find the city's sewage backing up into their basements.

Charlie Dinkins is a worker at the Pinckneyville sewage treatment facility whose home is just west of the town's square has been flooded three times by sewage overflow.

“This last time, it was coming up in the shower” Dinkins said, “and I'm not the only one. I had a few inches of water, but down the street, my neighbor had a good 1 foot of water, complete with chunks of feces, toilet paper, and all… It was disgusting.”

Commissioner David Stone said this occurrence is possible with the current system due to aging infrastructure under the city, much of which consists of clay piping laid nearly 80 years ago.

“The pipes have holes in them, which allows for storm runoff to get into the sewer, and overwhelm the system. The old plant just can't handle all of that volume.” he said. “The big concern of mine is when you get too much water for the system to handle, it starts backing up in people's basements.”

“It'd just be pouring up from the shower drain.” Dinkins recalled, “just, bubbling out…”

Dinkins said he primarily uses his basement for storage of collectibles like more than 500 vinyl records, and other memorabilia.

“And I had stuff stored underneath the stairs like books and old pictures… it ruined everything there,” he said.

Some of the city's old pipes were replaced in recent months to help curb the issue, thanks to a $100,000 grant received from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in March of 2014.

Newly elected mayor Robert Spencer said days before he was elected this April that further improvements to the city infrastructure and to the sewage system are on the top of his to-do list, and that he wants to begin studies for the most feasible option, but he didn't specify if that would involve a new plant.

Commissioner Stone and other plant workers say after the pipes around town are replaced sometime in the next two years, a new sewage plant with a price tag of more than $10,000,000 would be the most permanent fix.

“The plant's aged,” said commissioner Stone on Thursday, “There's work that needs to be done.”

Stone said he intends to apply for another grant with the DCEO in upcoming months to keep replacing pipes around town. Several applications have been filed in the past few years, a number of which were denied.

After clay pipes are replaced, Stone said he hopes to have plans for the new plant finalized, which are ‘already being drawn up.'

Stone said the earliest estimate for when the town could receive state and federal dollars for the new plant would be by 2018.

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