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The City of Webb City wastewater collection system consists of a total of 63 miles of pipe, 9 lift stations, and over 1000 manholes. This vital infra-structure is put in place to maintain sanitary conditions for the important residents of our city. This entire system has recently had its assets physical location and elevation recorded by a sophisticated GPS (Global Position System) unit so that this information can be added to a GIS (Geographic Information system) data base. This data base which includes electronic mapping will be invaluable to assist the waste water department in quickly finding covered manholes, and designing future main line replacements, and extensions of the collection system.
The wastewater collections department consists of a five man crew who professionally serve the residents by maintaining the system in the best possible condition they can. Their assignments are to inspect, clean, replace, and maintain our collection system. The crew is able to perform these duties repectively along with responding to emergency calls, and replacing broken down sections of sewer pipe. The crew utilizes several pieces of equipment to accomplish these great tasks which includes: a powerful rodding machine to break up tough roots, a powerful water powered jet truck, that also has a large 10 inch vacuum hose that cleans the lines and clears clogs of small roots and grease, a remote controlled camera to travel inside of sewer mains to inspect, and record the conditions of pipes, and manholes for cracks. To replace, and install new sewer mains the crew has procured a backhoe, an excavator, and two dump trucks. Under the direction of Director William Runkle this important work is orchestrated by Superintendant: John Pottorff, and Foreman: Darren Chitwood, along with three laborers. Between both Darren and John they have over 55 years experience in the construction and utility industries. John has worked in both the construction, and municipal industries; Darren has worked in construction, municipal, and private sector utility industry for 30+ years.
This invaluable crew was assembled to help remediate one of the greatest challenges of collection systems everywhere across the country; caused by an aging infrastructure, and old outdated plumbing practices of the time. This challenge has an acronym called SSO’s and it stands for Sanitary Sewer Overflow; an unsanitary situation where, during high rain events, some singular locations in the system cannot fully contain both the waste water and rain water. During an SSO, the water will surcharge, or overflow through a manhole. This event is primarily caused by a situation with another acronym - I&I which stands for Inflow & Infiltration. Inflow is caused from storm water drains being connected to the sanitary sewer system instead of being connected to a separate storm water system. Infiltration is caused by pipes 50 to 100 years old or more, that are cracked and broken down which allows ground water to enter in to the collection system. During a rain event you could see how this could present a very big problem. Because of the potential public health hazard, residents are strongly
encouraged to call the wastewater department if they witness water discharging from a manhole.
We also contract with specialized companies who can install a permanent liner inside of the sewer main in areas where it makes more sense to line vs. digging the main up and replacing it. These are the more congested areas and where the sewer main is extremely deep in the ground.
For questions or concerns about our wastewater system please call 673-6297.
Cardinal Valley Wetlands Restoration Project
The habitat projects I am involved with are really two fold. There is the upland portions, where we are doing native prairie restoration work on, and then there is the wetland projects, where we will do wetland restoration using native plants.
The upland prairie restoration work has several objectives, first and foremost being to provide better habitat for wildlife. We are not just talking about the larger animals here either, such as deer, coyotes, rabbits, etc. We are also interested in the insects, small grassland dependent birds, amphibians and reptiles, along with those life forms living in the soil, such as worms, nematodes, bacteria, etc. These restorations will also protect the soil from eroding, while also improving absorption of water during rain events, helping to maintain ground water levels.
I mentioned that all wildlife is targeted for improvement of habitat, but there is also an emphasis on providing better monarch butterfly habitat as well. This involves providing a diversity of plants that are considered food sources by this species, both from a nectar and larvae feeding source. Milkweed species are an important component of this objective, so getting more milkweed species on these restoration sites is an important goal. Other species of insects will benefit as well, so it is a win-win scenario for many species! Most of us don’t have any idea of how important a lot of these native insects are, whether it be from pollination, or from controlling other pest species.
The wetland areas will also be managed from a native vegetation standpoint, being seeded, or planted, with native wetland species. The main goal of the wetlands is to have plants that remove a little more zinc from the contaminated water that is common around Webb City, but an important secondary goal is to provide wetland habitat for primarily wetland dependent bird species.
Currently, I have been managing around 100 acres that was previously planted by the EPA upon completion of the cleanup. We have tried to enhance the native vegetation that was on these sites, while trying to eliminate, or at least minimize, the unwanted (invasive) vegetation that was very prevalent on most sites. There are several hundred more acres to be planted in the near future, but those won’t be completed until the composting process is up and going. The finished product from the composting of wood chips, cattle manure, and
bio-solids from the treatment plant will be applied to the areas that are yet to be planted, to act as a topsoil, which will then be planted to the native grass and forb mixtures.
The long range plan, and I have no idea of what time frame is going to be involved in this, is to have walking trails going around and through much of these upland and wetland restoration sites, so the public can have opportunities to bird watch, see native forbs (wildflowers) blooming, or simply have a place to walk, or run, or possibly even ride a bicycle.
Webb City, Missouri