Sewage Plant Has Tough Time Dealing with Excessive Rain

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

Just a few years ago, severe drought plagued the southeast.

Fast forward a couple years and now it's the heavy rainfall that's creating problems, especially for a local sewage plant.

The Beaver Creek Wastewater Treatment plant was designed to take in 6 million gallons of water a day max.

But because of all the rain, they're seeing up to 12 million gallons come through.

It's a problem that city officials have been dealing with for years.

Beaver creek wastewater treatment facility is struggling to keep up.

“During periods of heavy rainfall the plant is inundated with water,” said Billy Mayes, Dothan Utilities Superintendent.

“I think Beaver Creek sees 3 to 4 million gallons of sewage a day and then all of the sudden it rains heavy and the plant is asked to taken in over 10 million gallons and the plant just wasn't designed to do that,” said City Manager Mike West.

When too much water comes in, the facility can't cope, meaning the quality of the water released back into the environment is lessened.

“Our biggest worry is harm to the environment,” said the plant’s chief operator Robert Breth.

“The waste coming into beaver creek can't stay in there long enough to be processed thoroughly and meet our permit requirements,” said West.

The plant was built in 1960 and underwent a major upgrade in the 70's.

But as Dothan continues to grow, so does the need for a new facility.

“Beaver Creek is the oldest treatment plant in the city it's in the fastest growing area of the city in growth in development,” said West.

That’s why in 2005, city leaders decided to spend tens of millions of dollars to build a new facility.

“Sewer work is some of the most expensive work you'll do. The 45 million dollar project is the largest capital project the city has ever undertaken,” said West.

“We're in the process of upgrading the little Choctawhatchee plant, heavy construction is going on,” said Mayes.

Officials expect construction on the new facility to be complete by October of 2011.

City manager west says right now, the city is being sued by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for several violations.

He says before the lawsuit goes any further, he hopes ADEM takes into account that the city has taken progressive steps to fix the problem.

The Beaver Creek Wastewater Facility is located on Flowers Chapel road, behind Highway 84 West.

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  • by Michael Location: Banks, Alabama on Feb 16, 2010 at 07:44 AM
    Except when a developer or industry funds a new wastewater treatment plant, water and sewer users should pay enough for service to maintain treatment plants. Cities should collect connection fees from new users sufficient to expand treatment facilities. A city like Dothan should be able to fund its own WWTPs. Furthermore, Dothan did receive a significant low interest loan from the state loan program. Michael William Mullen Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper
  • by Joey Location: dothan on Jan 26, 2010 at 06:56 PM
    If the state doesnt like the quality of our water they shoudlnt be down here drinking it. If they want to help make it better a courtroom cant treat water. They should work on our treatment facility for us. When they want to go to court for things like this it appears they are more concerned with making money for lawyers, courts, and government than making the water better. Take the money that would be spent on all sides of a court case and spend it on the treatment plant.
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