Effingham City Council members approved Wednesday paying for work that is part of major infrastructure improvements being made within the city, totaling about $5 million.
Major improvements are being made to the city's sewer system, water treatment plant and Wabash River dam, not to mention water mains and manholes. The projects, which are at various levels of completion, are helping to improve drinking water, lessen amount of sewer water and repair aging lines.
According to Effingham Public Works Director Steve Miller, the projects are not only good for the city's residents, but businesses as well.
“Businesses look at what utilities are available to them when looking to see if they can locate their business in Effingham,” he said.
Receiving much attention is the city's sewer system. Rain water running into the sewer system has significantly increased the amount of sewer water that has to be processed. When rain water runs down into the sewer system, it can increase the amount of sewer water that is treated at the sewer plant by three-fold. On an average day, Miller said the city treats 3 million gallons of sewer water, with that number increasing to 9 million gallons after a hard rain.
“It is cheaper to streamline this system than to build a bigger sewer treatment plant,” he said. “We don't want to treat that capacity of water if we don't have to.”
Smoke and dye are being used to find any places in the line that are susceptible to water runoff. In addition, large sections of the city's sewer lines are being televised with a robotic camera, for which the council approved a $152,232 payment Wednesday. Once the trouble spots are located, the lines are either patched or relined. The city has been able to refurbish pipes without excavating the areas by using a felt substance that is sprayed with a resin, which is then pulled through to coat the line, said Miller. The process makes the line like new, he added.