03/01/04 — High tech sewers for city

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High tech sewers for city

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on March 1, 2004 1:58 PM

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH -- Goldsboro is considering using high technology to plot and maintain its sewer system.

Council members were updated Thursday on how the sewer system could be mapped by using global positioning satellites, or GPS. The project could be completed by March 2005 and would cost about $325,000.

GPS is a constellation of satellites, developed and maintained by the U.S. Department of Defense. David Pond, consultant with WK Dickson, said GPS was used for computer mapping systems because it didn't require a direct line of sight along the earth's surface to get accurate results.

City Manager Richard Slozak said that Goldsboro's sewer system was a model for the state.

"The state sends people to Goldsboro to look at our system because it's state-of-the-art," Slozak said. "This will complete our system."

The mapping would also fulfill state and federal requirements. "You have a collection system permit, so you must have a detailed map of the entire system," Pond said. "The permit requires it."

The city has a paper map of the sewer system, but Slozak acknowledged that it wasn't complete and was difficult to keep up to date.

"We don't know where all the sewer lines are, but we'll capture more data with this," Slozak said. "We have some long-time employees that really know the system, but when they're gone we'll lose a wealth of information."

The sanitary sewer system is estimated to contain 5,400 manholes, plus all the connecting pieces and parts.

To begin the project, WK Dickson will first make a list of the information the city needs to know about its sewer system. The information would be loaded into the computer system. Once the system is set up, city employees will be trained by WK Dickson and can make updates daily.

After the system is mapped, it will help the city make repairs when necessary.

"If there's a break in the line, this will pinpoint where it is," Pond said. "The crews will know how to respond."

The city is also considering mapping its storm drain and water system. City Councilman Chuck Allen asked if it would be cheaper to do it all at the same time.

Slozak and Pond said that it would not.

"First, this would be paid with sewer bond money, which couldn't be used for the water system," Slozak explained. "And we need to have a base system first, then we can add to it."