PRCUA continues work on wastewater system overhaul

The Pearl River County Utility Authority (PRCUA) is in the middle of conducting a $6 million overhaul on the city of Picayune's wastewater system. The system is comprised of a network of underground piping ranging from depths of 4 feet to 20 feet in the ground, and the rehabilitation project aims to repair or replace as many basins (sections of sewer pipes) as possible in the city.

Sewer Main Liner being cured by steam on Tennyson Cove in Westchester subdivison

The project began in July of 2017 and is currently in the middle of the three part plan. The first step was to clean and video the pipes to check for damages. Many of the pipes were found to be irreparable due to aging and erosion by years of sewer flow.

“Many of the lines we found were put in in the ’50’s and ’60’s and haven’t been touched since,” said City Engineer Jonathan Hickman. He noted that most of the older pipes were made of concrete or clay and would all likely have to be replaced.

The second phase is to rehab the bad pipes found in phase one. Some will only need a special lining added to it to cover small holes and seal the pipe while others in bad shape or with a bad slope will need to be completely replaced.

Newly installed manhole on Browning Circle in Westchester subdivision

The third phase of the project is to repair the manholes. According to Hickman, manholes are commonly made of brick and have a tendency to leak rainwater or groundwater into the sewer system, which throws off the calculations made by the sanitation plant of what biological and chemical components are necessary to remove all the contaminants. The manholes simply have to be foamed and sealed.

Hickman said the most difficult aspect of all the phases isn’t replacing or repairing the pipes, but getting to them.

“They run through people’s back yards and in the middle of roads, requiring repair crews to stop traffic or even chop down trees to get to the pipes,” Hickman explained.

Although a lengthy and arduous process, the project is believed to set the city’s sewer system up for long-term success. The project is underway in multiple neighborhoods throughout the city and is expected to be complete in July of 2019.

Above: New sewer service being installed on Westchester Drive

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