County Commission recieves $350,000 sewer grant

Published 8:28 pm Tuesday, November 19, 2013

For years, sewage problems plagued the Dellwood community, but sewage backup may soon be history.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs awarded the commission a $350,000 grant last week to fix sewage pipelines on Dallas County Roads 911 and 912. Probate Judge Kim Ballard said the grant would also be used to improve a nearby sewage lagoon — a pond that collects wastewater.

District Four Commissioner Larry Nickels said the improvements will be a welcomed addition to his district because the current system is old and inadequate.

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“It’s a sanitation issue and the people just don’t need to put up with the conditions if the local government can do something about it,” he said. “The lines need flushing all the time. It’s created lots of problems for people in the area.”

The sewage problems stem from an outdated system, according to Nickels.

The subdivision was built in the mid 1970s and the sewage system hasn’t been improved since the construction began, making it more than 30 years old. When fully functional, the pipes were 8 inches wide, but debris build up decreased the total capacity, causing pipes to back up.

Construction likely won’t start before the end of the year because of weather conditions, Nickels said. He said construction should start in the spring.

“This time of year it’s an environmental issue,” he said. “You can’t really do these type jobs when it is wet. We plan to get started as soon as it is dry.”

The commission has continuously applied for grants to improve the system, but was only recently successful because of lobbying efforts by a local legislator.

ADECA tentatively approved the county’s original grant request earlier this year. The commission didn’t receive final approval until recently because of a shortage of grant money, Ballard said.

“Luckily some of the other counties didn’t use all of their grant money and turned it back in,” he said. “We really need to thank Sen. Hank Sanders. He went to ADECA and asked if they had any additional money left.”

The Commission is planning to pair the grant with funds from the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program to make road improvements in the Dellwood area. The county and city received $10.6 million in ATRIP funds from the Alabama Department of Transportation to resurface 13 roads.

One of the projects will resurface Dallas County Road 115 from Dallas County Road 988 to Dallas County Road 33. The project is scheduled to begin next year.

“Some of these roads are 50 years old,” Nickels said. “I’m glad that we are able to make all of these improvements for the people that live in the area.”