Sewer line work moves forward

Staff Writer

Upgrading the city's aging sewer and water lines took another step Tuesday night when West Point Selectmen authorized bids for work on almost 5,000 feet of sewer lines long busy Church Hill Avenue from Church Hill Elementary almost to where the Kitty Dill Memorial Walkway crosses.

The city plans to line the existing 70-plus-year-old ceramic and concrete pipe with a PVC liner that should last for "years and years and years," according to Water and Light Department Director Boodro Marsac. The project could cost up to $150,000 and take as long as a month once a contract is awarded, possibly in February.

The work won't disrupt service to any properties, although residents may be asked to monitor their water and sewer usage at times.

Funds will come from Light and Water's operating revenues.

"We'll pay for it all in-house," Marsac said.

The work is similar to that completed two years ago along Main and Commerce streets. The Church Hill project is a little trickier and even more important because the pipes are buried 13 feet.

Having to actually replace the pipes would be even more costly because of the depth and the amount of pavement that would have to be dug up and replaced.

"We had an issue in front of Church Hill School and brought the camera in then and started looking. We're lucky this pipe has not broken and collapsed. Now we can line it and be done with it. If it was collapsed, at this depth, it would be a whole different set of problems," Marsac explained.

The Church Hill line is one of the most-used in the city.

"We've got plenty more out there to try to get to. It's a long process trying to get all these old lines updated or lined so they will last. We'll start looking at others and take the worst ones we come to next," Marsac said.

In other action, Selectmen:

-- Reappointed Kenny Fowler and appointed Alice Pitts to four-year terms on the Planning Commission. They also named William Golden and Dick Henson as alternates to the Commission, which meets the first Tuesday of each month. The system of seven regular board members and three alternates is one of the most unique in Northeast Mississippi.

Pitts has served as an alternate before being named to a regular position.

Alternates attend each meeting and sit in and vote in case the board does not have a quorum of regular members. It keeps items from being delayed.

"It's a good training ground, too. The alternates come and know what's going on and get an understanding of all the issues involved with planning. They can step in on an issue if we don't have a quorum and they can move up on the board when we have a vacancy," Ward 4 Selectman Keith McBrayer explained.