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Sewers to be fixed

VIDALIA — The sewage system in the City of Vidalia is getting another much-needed overhaul through a grant from the Louisiana Community Development Block Grants program.

The grant is to line sewer pipes on the side of the city that is adjacent to the levee.

City Manager Ken Walker said the $380,932 project will be funded by the grant and should take three to four months to complete once it is started.

Walker said the city is only allowed one LCDBG grant a year, and Vidalia used their last year’s grant to improve sewage pipes in other areas of the city.

“After this work is complete, we will have around 90 to 95 percent of the city’s sewer lines completed,” he said.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copleand said fixing the city’s sewage has been an ongoing but necessary process.

“We have basically had to rebuild our sewage system,” he said. “In some areas the pipes are over 60 years old, and we need to get them replaced.”

The Sandbar restaurant in Vidalia is located in one of the areas with 60-year-old pipes, and a recent cave-in of one of the pipes near the restaurant is just an example of the damage the older pipes can bring.

“Over the years, the sewer gases have corroded the pipe,” Walker said. “The bottoms and tops of the pipe are still in place, but in some areas the sides of the pipe are completely gone leaving just dirt.”

Walker said the corroded pipes are left open to water infiltration from rain and runoff, and that the new pipes should alleviate that problem.

“We have to go in and clean out the pipes, and then we insert a new polymer liner into the old line,” he said.

Copeland said the newest work on the city’s sewage will include the area near the Sandbar, and construction should begin relatively soon.

The bid for the project was awarded to Suncoast Infrastructure of Florence, Miss.

Copeland said the city is working on funding for the remaining sewage lines that need to be fixed.

“These lines are just too old and they need to be replaced,” he said. “We don’t have much more left to finish.”