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Kilgore working to replace aging water infrastructure

Posted: Jul 29, 2015 6:58 PM


By Kim Leoffler

A recent sewage leak in Kilgore has raised questions about the safety of the aging pipes in the city’s water system. City officials say the older pipes are more vulnerable to leaks.

“We in Kilgore have a special situation because we have historically been a boom and bust town,” Seth Sorensen, Kilgore’s Director of Public Works, explained. “And so when we’re in boom situations we have a lot of infrastructure in the ground all at the same time. And then in the downturn in the economy there’s not always money there to fix it."

Just last Friday, the city received a complaint about an odor where the Bighead Creek River crosses under Highway 259.

“The sewage spill was due to a linear crack in the sewage lines so it was seeping sewage,” Andrea Morrow, Texas Commission on Environmental QualitySpokeswoman, said.

The TCEQ said the city flushed the area with clean water to dilute it. But the leak was not near the Sabine River, where the city gets most of its drinking water. Morrow said they are still investigating the situation.

But Sorensen knows the aging infrastructure is a problem and has created a program to fix the pipes.

“Just last night the city council approved an agreement with an engineering firm to help us with our water and wastewater plant analysis, where we can go in and see what our needs are at the plants we know they are getting older as well,” Sorensen said.

“We have some of the major projects identified about what needs to be done,” he added.

But he said it is going to take time to get them fixed.

“It’s not something that’s going to be solved overnight that there is quite a bit of infrastructure that needs to be addressed and it’s going to take money and the best time to start is now,” Sorensen said.

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