Upgrades down under
West Memphis working to seal, repair manholes
“No one really wants to look down a manhole,” said West Memphis Utilities Engineer Amanda Hicks.
Nonetheless, the city utility has been inspecting manhole conditions and upgrading them to guard against inflow and infiltration. The Utilities commission heard why the project was important and reviewed the work in Basin 8.
“The reason we are doing this is so the sewer doesn’t become overloaded with water. When it does, it kills the good bacteria at the plant,” said Hicks.
Basin 8 is the fourth area to receive manhole rehabilitation in the city.
The area is outlined by Woods St., Broadway, 21st Street and the levee. 400 of the city’s 3,000 manholes are in the area. 130 of those were completely sealed and lined with a new blue epoxy to prevent seepage through the brick and mortar wall in the manhole.
100 other manholes were repaired to prevent leaks using a special grout or concrete sealant. 140 manhole lids were completely replaced to prevent inflow through the top of the cover. Finally 40 rings and lids were replaced to keep seepage out.
Hicks said upgrades in the basin were nearly complete. The project started in November. A contractor lined the targeted holes with the special bright blue epoxy.
“These manholes were some of the oldest in the city,” said Hick. “So far we have 95 percent of the project completed. There are a few manhole lids that still need replacing.”
The engineer looked ahead indicating a summer intern had been hired to take basin measurements.
“We plan to monitor the area with flow meters,” said Hicks. “We have a camera truck to do studies ourselves. Most of our sewer is gravity. The more we know how the water moves the more we’ll know where the issues are. We have a camera truck and doing the study ourselves.
We’ll then make a hydraulic model.”
By John Rech