City of Alma. Engineering Department. Sanitary Sewer Infiltration and Inflow Lift Station Number 8 District

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1 City of Alma Engineering Department R. G. Turner Public Service Director Sanitary Sewer Infiltration and Inflow Lift Station Number 8 District

2 The Problem: The City of Alma s sanitary sewers suffer from a chronic problem known as inflow and infiltration (I & I) as can be documented with the flow rates at the waste water treatment plant on March 31, 2008, when flows which were high due to very wet ground conditions in general, spiked soon after the high intensity rain event early in the afternoon. The flow rate early in the day was approximately 3 mgd (million gallons per day). Starting about thirty minutes after the storm event flow increased to over 8.5 mgd. This flow rate continued for several hours and then gradually tapered downward. Twenty four hours later the plant was still pumping at a rate of over 6 mgd. The I & I problem appears to be basically City wide in scope, but little actual data in fact exists, except pumping records at the treatment plant, the fifteen lift stations, and at the single metering station for Arcada Township sanitary sewer. This limited data indicates an I & I problem that is generally universal in scale, but does appear to vary by degrees based upon geographical location. One such location is the western portion of the City, specifically the area serviced by lift station number 8 which is located on Riverview Drive. The reoccurring problem with basement flooding along Riverview Drive in Alma appears to have a relatively long history and is not a new situation. Occasionally residents living on or near Riverview Drive complain of flooding in their basements, which has been historically blamed upon the sanitary sewer system in the area, specifically the local lift station, lift station #8. Little actual data does exist regarding specific details of flooded basements, but pump data from the lift station itself does show that flow rates increase during wet times of the year and decrease during dry summer months. This same data indicates that high intensity rain fall events increase volume in the sanitary sewer dramatically for this area which is similar to most other areas in the City. Comparable information from the metering station from Arcada Township, other lift stations and from the sewer treatment plant itself all show marked increases in flows through most areas of the City during high intensity rain events. In conversations with some of the affected residents, they assume that the problem is simple and that basically sewers are too small, and/or a pump station that is not of adequate size to handle the required load. If that solution were even allowable under MDEQ permitting, it would not solve the problem but would only relocate it to the area of Mechanic and Grant Streets. The sanitary sewers and the related pump station serve the residents very well nearly all of the time. The size of the sewer main and of the lift station appear to be adequate except during times of flooding and during high intensity rain events. It must be noted that both storm water and ground water are not technically permitted to be discharged into a sanitary sewer. Discharges from tubs, toilets, sinks, floor drains and industrial sewage must be connected to the sanitary sewers but yard basins, roof drains, catch basins, downspouts, footing drains, etc. must be dealt with as storm sewer. Both State Regulation and City Ordinance prohibit connections to the sanitary sewer that introduce storm or ground water into the sanitary sewer. Also based upon engineering calculations MDEQ would not allow increases in the size of the

3 Service Area for Lift Station #8 M-3

4 sanitary sewer, but would instead require that the I & I problem be resolved as the solution. The district which lift station #8 services is relatively large and includes the entire west portions of the City of Alma and the sanitary sewers for Arcada Township, which also include lift stations #9 and #10. On the previous page is a map showing the area serviced by lift station #8, an area that is composed of 439 acres. Generally, the district extends from the north boundary of the City southward to the Pine River and from Charles Avenue west in the areas north of Superior Street. In the area south of Superior street, the district generally can be described as west of a line extending from the intersection of Charles Avenue and Superior Street intersection to the intersection of Mill Street and Philadelphia Avenue and then southward to the Pine River. The service area also includes 375 buildings, most of which are single family residential units. The actual composition of the district is specifically composed of 369 single family units, one school building (Luce Road School), four churches, and the club house for the golf course. In regards to actual load on the sanitary system the single family units represents a load of 369 residential equivalent units (R.E.U.) the school at 20 twenty R.E.U. the churches at 7.5 R.E.U. and the county club 10 R.E.U. for a total load on lift station #8 of R.E.U. with a estimated consumption rate of 320 gpd per R.E.U. Background Information: Sanitary Sewer Load Historically lift station #8 is typically the hardest working station in our waste water system. It normally is operating at a higher percent of capacity then most lift stations. Based on typical engineering standards the estimated sanitary load on lift station #8 would be approximately 130,000 gallon per day provided that no ground water or storm water entered the system, that is, about 11% of the pumps ultimate pumping capacity. In the seven days before the March 31 rain event lift station #8 pumped at an average of nearly 216,000 gpd (wet ground/soil conditions) which is nearly twice the expected load on the lift station. On March 31, 2008 the lift station pumped 824,700 gpd, most of which occurred within an eleven hour window of time. The week following the rain storm the lift station pumped at an average rate of 303,000 gpd. Inflow and Infiltration I & I is typically composed of storm water or ground water that enters the sanitary sewer by one of several methods. It maybe a direct connection such as downspouts or roof drains that are connected to the sanitary sewer; or it maybe more indirect such as storm water that soaks through the soil to footing drains that are connect to the sanitary sewer directly or via a sump pump. Direct connections are easier to locate then the indirect flows. Either method will produce increased flow rates within the sanitary sewer but the effects will be slightly different on the pumps at the lift stations. Direct connections to the sanitary sewer should during heavy rain events cause the fast rise in the pumping rates within a very short period of time of the rain event itself, actually producing a spike in flow rates which both climbs fast and drops off relatively fast. Such a spike would

5 produce a graph similar to the following graph where the rain event triggers a rapid increase in flow rates and a rather rapid decrease sometime after the event ends. Direct Inflow Flow Rate Pump Rate Rain Time Indirect flows are not likely to have the same effect upon the sanitary sewer system. Storm water from the storm event must have time to soak through the soils to reach broken sewers, or footing drains. This will produce a time lag between the rain event and the increase in pumping rate at a lift station. Also the flow rates in the sewers will not spike fast but will gradually increase as more water has sufficient time to reach the sewers and will also decrease at a much slower rate then direct inflow connections, such as indicated on the graph below. Indirect Inflow Flow Rate Pump Rate Rain Time When these two graphs are combined, which would indicate a combination of both direct and indirect connections to the sanitary sewer the flow rate of the sanitary sewer would be expected to spike rather fast as shown on the first graph, but would decrease very slowly as indicated in the second graph. The expected results from a combination of both the direct and indirect are shown in the following graph.

6 Combined Inflow Flow Rate Pump Rate Rain Time Historically, the flow rates that have been observed at the waste water treatment plant, and at lift stations look very similar to the last graph above. The implications are that the sanitary sewer system at large has a problem with both types of inflow connections. Geology: Checking the local geology regarding native soil types, much of the area serviced by lift station #8 resides in soils that are typically poorly drained as does much of the entire City. Below is a map of soil types for the geographical area served by lift station #8. Large areas of this district are categorized typically as poorly drained and very poorly drained soils on lowlands, according to the Soil survey of Gratiot County, Michigan, Table 9 which list building site development based upon soil types. In regards to buildings/dwellings with basements the following information exists; Belleville, Cohoctah, and Parkhill loam, are listed as severe wetness and flooding. The following soil types are mentioned as severe wetness soil types; Capac loam, Ithaca loam, Metamora-Capac, both types of Perrinton loams, Selfridge loam and Tedrow. Based upon soil types nearly all homes with basements could be expected to experience wet basements and yards that drain poorly, unless adequate artificial drainage is provided. Only very limited areas are listed as being acceptable as building sites for good draining characteristics without wetness issues. In much of the geographical area of the lift station #8 s district experience with excavation work has generally shown that ground water can be expected in relatively shallow excavations. These range from as shallow as a couple of feet to as deep as eight or ten feet. Wet areas, poor drainage, and high water tables compound the situation making property owner more prone to disposal of water into any available method.

7 Local Soil Types Miles Railroads Gratiot Airports Roads/Streets Soils Types Belleville Capac Loam Cohoctah fine sandy loam Ithaca loam Metamora-Capac sandy loam Metea loamy sand Parkhill loam Perrinton loam Perrinton loam Pits Plainfield loamy sand Selfridge loamy sand Tedrow loamy sand Water W N S E Locating the source of ground water and storm water into the sewers is not necessarily either easy or straight forward. Normally a number of methods must be used to determine such interconnects. Smoke testing of the City sewer mains provide a relatively good source of information but is limited to areas that reach the surface at some point without going through sewer traps, or areas of sewer lines that are completely full of water. Therefore, footing drains, all plumbing trapped fixtures and sometimes even entire buildings are isolated from the smoke. Dye testing of the sewers requires us to gain entrance to the building to place the dye and to run water long enough so that the dye can appear in the sewer. Video taping the sewer mains can provide another piece to the

8 puzzle by allowing us to see the condition of the sewer main itself. Ultimately all of these methods would be required to resolve the problem. This information as been included not to determine the problem, it is general knowledge information, but rather it has been include to indicate the scale and complexity of the issue. Conclusion: The problem itself can be reduced to a rather simple solution, that is, stop the I & I from reaching the sanitary sewers. From a practical point of view, that solution is not easy, not simple, and not inexpensive. The limited data that does exist, comes from totalizers on the lift stations which do not actually provide gallons pumped but rather total hours that the pumps have run. No solid information is known regarding how much sewage backed up in lift station #8, which would indicate the elevation that would flood basements. Until recently no information was known regarding basement floor elevations and the relationship between the elevation of the floor to the sanitary sewer and to the river elevation. (To date three homes have been inspected and information gathered). At present there is no data to indicate what percentage of the problem is on private property or is a City problem. I propose that the City proceed in the follow manner. The Engineering Department should endeavor to determine the actual scope of the problem, and present an outline plan or plans to the City Commission for consideration on method(s) of remediation. In order to accomplish this task the engineering department needs to collect actual data regarding both physical characteristics of buildings and of the sewer system under heavy flow conditions. 1. Attempt to inspect a sample group of homes/buildings (3.5%) within the district to determine the basement floor elevation, plumbing arrangements, and attempt to determine storm water management at that specific location. Completion of Task June 30, Dye test some of the private sewers within the sample group provided that property owner will permit such actions. Completion of Task June 30, Smoke test the City sewer mains in an effort to attempt to find improper interconnects and to assess the scale of the problem in regards to private versus public improvement required. Completion of Task May 30, Obtain data on lift station #8 regarding sewer backup elevation within the station itself (this will require the help of mother nature to provide the rain). Completion of task unknown, weather related. 5. Review pump station data. Completion of Task June 30, Review engineering records regarding storm sewers and sanitary sewers within the district of lift station #8. Completion of Task June 30, The preliminary schedule is weather related in regards to item number 4. Provided that item 4 can be completed in a timely manner, review of the data, and development of a plan(s) for the solution should be completed by September 12, 2008.

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