Oregon, which received complaints from several residents about backed up sewage in their homes following heavy rain in July, is looking at the feasibility of building a lagoon that would aid the wastewater treatment plant during wet weather periods.
Public Service Director Paul Roman said he contacted the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency recently to find out if a lagoon, also known as an equalization basin, could be lined with clay instead of the more expensive concrete.
“I had always understood that a lagoon would have to be concrete lined,” said Roman. “The agency said a lagoon could be lined with clay, but it would prefer concrete for cleaning.”
The City of Shelby, Ohio, received approval from the Ohio EPA to build an 18 million gallon, clay lined lagoon near its wastewater treatment plant last year, said Roman.
He plans to request proposals of preliminary designs of a lagoon from engineering firms.
“I need to know whether it would be feasible. We’re so flat here in our area. Hydraulically, where is the best location for this lagoon? And, do I need pumps to make it work? I really don’t want a system where I need a whole new set of pumps. That’s going to be high cost, and it becomes a debate. Can it flow by gravity? What are the costs? There’s a lot of civil engineering involved in trying to decide whether this lagoon would work for Oregon. Then I would put it before council to decide if we want to proceed with it,” said Roman.
In July, several residents in neighborhoods off Seaman Road, complained to city council that their basements were flooded with backed up sewage following heavy rain. Many, particularly homeowners on Chardonnay Lane, sustained costly property damage from the flood.
A lagoon would store raw sewage to prevent floods upstream of the collection system, “where it doesn’t come out of a manhole, or doesn’t go into a stream,” said Roman.
“Rainwater shouldn’t be getting into the sanitary. But the reality is it does,” said Roman. “It may be getting in through some of the pipe joints, or you may have people with illegal sump pump connections that feed into the sanitary and overloads it. So a lagoon would be an extra storage area that would relieve the collection system from ever backing up.”
The lagoon, which would hold approximately 32 million gallons per day, would likely be located close to the treatment plant off Dupont Road, he said.
“We do have land just south of the plant that could be used. This could be eight to 10 acres in size,” he said.
In addition to providing service to the western and northern portions of Oregon, the wastewater treatment plant receives waste from Northwood, portions of Wood County, and the villages of Harbor View and Millbury.
City council last month agreed to install, operate and monitor temporary flow meters at five locations in the sanitary sewer system to reduce or eliminate excessive storm water from getting into the wastewater collection system.
Flow monitoring, video detection, and smoke testing will help identify inflow and infiltration sources.
“We could use that data to help model this idea of a lagoon,” said Roman. “I plan on using the flow monitoring data to help me decide what area of the city I should focus most on in terms of reducing inflow and infiltration from getting into the sanitary sewer system.”
Infiltration is similar to groundwater that seeps into the joints, he said. “Storm water inflow is like a downspout that’s illegally connected into the sanitary or sump pump.”
The meters will show the fluctuation in flow. “When it rains, one section may have a higher peak than in another area. That would tell you you’re getting more inflow in that section of the city. The beauty of that data, though, is that you could also use it for other things, such as improving your collection system, whether it’s a matter of looking at a larger sanitary collector sewer size, or sizing a lagoon.”
When Councilman Bill Myers, chairman of the Drainage, Roads, Buildings and Lands Committee, held a meeting on July 21 to discuss the drainage problems, he wanted to look into the possibility of constructing a lagoon. But Mayor Marge Brown shot down the idea at a council meeting afterwards, saying the EPA would not approve.
Myers is pleased Roman is investigating it further.
“I get so tired of hearing people say we can’t do this, can’t do that,” said Myers, who planned on visiting Shelby last week to look at its lagoon.
“We can’t have sewage backing up in the basements, and the Ohio EPA won’t pump it into ditches, like we did in the past. Therefore, we have to have another plan,” said Myers. “Doing nothing won’t work. A lagoon at this point is the first logical alternative. I’m going to keep plodding along to see if this can be done.”