Fairfield to fix sewer overflow area

The city of Fairfield will be fixing its last sewer overflow point at the intersection of Ross Road and Devonian Drive. The overflow, which happens at this manhole cover, occurs when there’s a significant rain event causing the city’s sewer system to overflow.
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The city of Fairfield will be fixing its last sewer overflow point at the intersection of Ross Road and Devonian Drive. The overflow, which happens at this manhole cover, occurs when there’s a significant rain event causing the city’s sewer system to overflow.

The city of Fairfield is about to accomplish something this summer not many other municipalities its size can claim.

The last remaining active sewer overflow system in the city will be fixed, which Fairfield Public Utilities Superintendent Adam Sackenheim calls “a significant accomplishment” given that the nearly 61-year-old city has nearly 200 miles of pipe and this fix marks the last remaining active overflow problem.

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“This is the last piece of that puzzle to take care of and prevent future overflows,” he said.

Twenty years ago the city spent some $15 million to address issues of backups and overflows, and much of the issues were fixed with the added relief stations, a new pumping system and the addition of treatment lagoons at the wastewater treatment plant.

“Size and scope, it’s a relatively small project,” said Sackenheim, “And in terms of tightening up our system it’ is significant. It puts us in better standing in terms of compliance and it shows the city is doing its due diligence to address any outstanding issues.”

The 900-foot project will take 30 to 45 days to construct, with a possible starting time in June. Ross Road will be shut down for a couple days during the construction, which a detour will be established at that time.

Seven companies bid on the project, which were opened earlier this week. Bids, which are still pending review, ranged from $215,000 to $333,000. The engineer’s project estimate was $235,300.

The Ross Road overflow site is the last issue related to the overflows the city has to address. The sewer line last overflowed on March 17 when there were several inches of rain in several hours.

“When we get that much rain that fast, our system gets a little overwhelmed,” said Sackenheim.

Though 90 percent is clean storm water, it is mixed with sewage.

Sanitary sewer overflows happen more frequently during wetter years, according to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Before last month's overflow, the last time Fairfield reported an overflow was in 2012.

The Ohio EPA commends the city of Fairfield’s efforts, which approved the city’s permit for the work a few weeks ago.

“Sanitary sewer overflows allow untreated sewage to enter our waterways and can backup in basements,” said Ohio EPA spokeswoman Dina Pierce. “Eliminating overflows benefits public health, as well as the environment.”

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