Eroding Bank Threatens Bartlesville River With Wastewater

Wednesday, October 26th 2011, 5:37 pm

By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma -- A bank that separates a river in Bartlesville from a sewage storage facility is eroding. The city had to take emergency measures Wednesday to make sure untreated wastewater does not leak into the water.

The Caney River flows just west of what's called the Tuxedo Flow Equalization Basin, it's a backup facility for sewage in case a large amount of rain gets into the city's wastewater collection system. When that happens the raw sewage is stored there until it can be pumped to the treatment center.

The problem is a 60 foot long area between the facility and the bank of the river. It's been eroding over the past several years, so much so the city says it's lost 50 percent of the distance between the river and the basin. The issue had the Bartlesville city council call a special meeting to find a solution.

"If you lose the containment berm, then that's really the last line of defense to keep the sewage where the sewage needs to be and the storm water where the storm water needs to be," said Terry Lauritsen, Director of Engineering.

The city says if some of the raw, untreated sewage does get into the river it shouldn't impact the wildlife and most people won't even know that it's there. That's because the facility is only used during heavy rains and the river would be flowing high and fast which would help dilute the wastewater.

"The combined effect based upon the volume of water would be somewhat minute but, obviously, it's our intent to keep the wastewater where it needs to be and not to have any discharge into that receiving stream before it's treated," Lauritsen said.

The city voted to spend close to $193,000 to brace the containment berm with large rocks to help prevent more erosion.

"It will stabilize it. It will keep the soil intact there and helps give it some protection for that eddying affect with the river and just armor it," Lauritsen said.

Work on the project is scheduled to start Monday. The city expects it to be finished by Christmas.


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