PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

March 13, 2014

Groves to offer initiative to residents to replace sewer lines

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

GROVES — The City of Groves will soon offer residents up to $300 towards materials to replace sewer lines on their property.

City council approved entering into a Sanitary Sewer Overflow Initiative during a recent meeting.

Groves City Manager D. Sosa said the initiative is the part of the city’s ongoing battle to keep rainwater out of the system.

“People don’t realize that every time it rains there is a large amount of rainwater that enters the system and this water sometimes displaces sewer water,” Sosa said. “This can cause some citizens to experience slow commodes and sewer lines.”

Even though the city is working to replace old lines there are still many private service lines that need repair as well, he said. The Sanitary Sewer Overflow Initiative program will allow citizens who wish to replace sewer lines with up to $300 to pay for materials. Sosa said there are still many private lines in the city that are old clay lines or are in need of repair.

The City will send out letters to residents in April regarding the program.

“It can be expensive to change the line from the house to the street or to the city clean-out, from $500 to $1,000 but if the city is picking up up to $300 in materials that can drop the price down to $200 to $700,” he said.

Sosa said studies show that anywhere between 30 to 40 percent of infiltration problems occur on private property.

“We could fix every single line in the City of Groves and still have an infiltration problem,” he said.

City employees will smoke test and TV test sewer lines looking for possible problems and inform citizens they are eligible for the program.

The City of Groves will be using federal funds from Hurricane Ike to change out some of the lines. Those include lines on Garner, Warren, Montrose, Center and Second, Third and Fourth streets.

“We will spend about $860,000 on sanitary sewer line improvement from Ike funds and another $485,000 on rebuilding those streets after changing the lines. Residents in those areas will be the first to receive letters if they want to change out their private lines.”

In the upcoming weeks citizens will receive a letter explaining the program. They can call the City’s warehouse and apply for a permit for the work or have their own plumber call and the supplies will be delivered to the site.

“We are planning to work with a local supplier and are waiving the permit fee. We will work with the property owner and with the plumber,” he said.

The Sanitary Sewer Overflow Initiative is a program through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The voluntary program was initiated in 2004 in an effort to address an increase in sanitary sewer overflow due to aging collection systems throughout the state and encourage corrective action before there is harm to human health and safety or the environment, according to information from the TCEQ.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews