The concern regarding the hundred years old sewer lines and sewage infrastructure of Athens seems to be at an all time high. Back in 2012, Environmental Protection Agency published a report which stated alarmingly high percentage of E.coli in water samples collected across the lakes and rivers of Georgia. This prompted the authorities to propose the Service Delivery Plan, which was approved by the mayor of Athens-Clarke County in November 2015.
What is the plan about?
It is a strategy laid over 20 years that will initially focus on the replacement of the sewer lines that need immediate attention because of rust and corrosion. The plan is then to modernize the existing sewage system.
But where the district government is playing its role to work out a solution, are you as a local resident doing enough to leverage your share?
Understanding Sewer and Sewage Infrastructure
Sewerage infrastructure is a laid out network of sewers and pumps that is responsible for the collection of sewage from the community of locals living in that region.
Sewage system on the other hand, is the infrastructure that is designed to filter the contaminants from the sewage, before disposing off the treated wastewater in a watershed.
Understandably, a leakage in the distribution system of any of these two infrastructures can contaminate the adjoining water sources and that is exactly what is staring in the face of Athens and has been for quite some time now.
What Can Cause the Leakage in Sewer and Sewage System?
Corrosion and Rust
Corrosion and rust of sewer and drainage lines is the most common cause of leakages. Over the years, if the network of pipes is not replaced, they tend to develop wear and tear.
Clogs and Blockages
Not only wear and tear, but clogs and damages could also result in damaged and leaked sewer lines. Flowing water tends to exert a strong force if its flow is hampered or the direction of flow changes. This phenomenon, known as water hammer, can dent the drainage lines, making them leaky and in worst cases even get them to burst.
Overflowing Septic Tanks and Damaged Septic System
Laurie Fowler, Director of River Basin Center and UGA law professor, believes that filled up septic tanks are another set of most common reasons for contamination of water sources in Athens, GA. In a heavy rainfall, these filled up septic tanks tend to overflow and contaminate nearby water sources.
Furthermore she believes that majority of locals in Athens do not like to have maintenance checkups of their septic systems. This increases the probability of water contamination in cases of a damaged distribution system even if the sewer lines supplying the system are intact.
What’s Your Responsibility in Improving Sewer and Sewage Infrastructure?
Have you realized where and how you can contribute to the improvement of sewerage and sewage system? If not and you need help, take a look at some of the ways through which you can help the local government in safeguarding the future of Athens and Georgia.
Start From Your Kitchen
Call in a plumbing service provider and get a garbage disposal unit installed in your kitchen if you do not already own one. The disposal unit minces off the food particles into smaller particles, minimizing the probability of your sewer lines getting clogged.
Next, get a grease trap. This plumbing device that is designed to trap grease and food particles will further ensure that your drainage lines are prevented from being blocked.
Invest in a Drain Waste Vent System
It is a modern plumbing system that is designed to remove sewage from a building through the sewer lines, while preventing them to clog by regulating air pressure through vent pipes. The intake of oxygen through these vent pipes allow aerobic sewage decomposition, hence eliminating the chances of harmful microbial colonization in the sewage. Plumbing service providers across Athens are well equipped both in terms of knowledge and tools to help you install a drain waste vent system at your home.
Looking After Your Septic System
25 percent of local residents of Athens are not served by Athens-Clarke County wastewater treatment system. They have their own septic systems installed, which is fed by the sewer lines and the distribution of these systems runs closely with a nearby river or stream.
Phone in your local plumbing service provider and get your septic pumps checked. Flush out the deposits of your tanks every seven years and inspect for any leakages in your septic distribution pipes. Or if you think this could prove to be costly in the longer term, you can join hand with the sewage system provided by the local government.
Cooperating With Your Municipal Service Provider
The residents of Athens who are connected with the municipal sewage department need to get their stubs checked from a local plumbing service provider. Stubs are pipes that serve as a connection between a house and the sewer line that lies near the curb.
Most of these stubs are clay tile sewer pipes that are more fragile than others. They tend to have a lower shelf life and can be easily destroyed by spreading root trees. This rupture can lead to the leakage of sewage in nearby water sources and the replacement of these old age terracotta pipes is the responsibility of the locals.
What Await Athens?
Known for The Grit, pulsating college football, AthFest and its cinemas, Athens is a consolidated city county. However, the recent alarms towards its drainage and sewage system have definitely stolen the attention from the good things Athens has to offer as a city.
As a local resident, it is your job to get rid of the malice that has stained the present and threatens to blot the future of Athens. By realizing your responsibility and contributing your share, you can return the favor. If you need a helping hand, we are here to help you.