Rains contribute to joint sewer system infiltration – Pelzer and West Pelzer

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By Stan Welch
The recent unusually heavy rains in the area have led to issues concerning the arrangement between Pelzer and West Pelzer for the jointly operated sewer system. West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders sent a letter to Pelzer Mayor Roger Scott earlier this month raising concerns over the increased amount of sewer influent into the system.
The letter stated that “On Friday, January 4, 2019, the Town of Pelzer sent 617,000 gallons of sewage in a 24 hour period; Jeff (public works manager) has been working nonstop since that date to regulate flows to ReWA, while still dealing with significant increased flows from Pelzer.”
The chronic issue of ingress and infiltration (I&I) was once more blamed for the problem. Pelzer’s decrepit and leaky sewer lines receive significant amounts of storm water infiltrating those porous lines, and entering the sewer system for treatment.
Sanders continued, “West Pelzer (which has upgraded their sewer collection lines and are currently in the process of transferring those lines and their system to ReWa) during this time only had 4% more than our water usage enter the EQ(equalization) basin (eg. 4% I&I).  The water is essentially river water; I would assume that there is a breach in a line or a manhole is underwater somewhere.”
While not referring in any way to this letter, the Pelzer town council did address the condition of its sewer lines at their meeting last week. Discussing a repair that had to be made, by West Pelzer personnel, several references were made to the tattered condition of the lines.
Cool relations between the two towns since Pelzer chose to withdraw from an agreement that merged their public works operations may play a role in the situation as well, as Sanders hints at in his letter. “There has not been much communication regarding this joint facility in sometime.  While we are working closely with ReWA to transfer our collection system, we need to discuss the need for Pelzer to participate in the maintenance and operation of this joint sewer plant; the majority of West Pelzer’s time and energy is being recorded dealing with the excess influent from Pelzer.”
Pelzer, citing an inadequate return in service for its agreement to pay fifty five per cent of the public works costs for both towns, chose to contract with Goldie & Associates for a four month period. That decision took place in June. Based on the public record, no extension or renewal of that contract has been approved.
Mayor Scott’s recent health issues may exacerbate the lack of communication, as he has been absent from recent meetings of the town council.
All italics provided by the writer of this article.