All Systems Go for Green Oaks and Rolling Hills After Sewer Upgrades

Major capital projects improved overall system integrity and longevity

Recently completed sewer upgrades in Green Oaks and Rolling Hills neighborhoods will benefit all Starkville Utilities customers by enhancing systemwide reliability, integrity and longevity.

Launched in June 2022, the $1.6 million project refurbished around 27,700 feet of sewer mains using minimally invasive rehab-in-place technology that extended infrastructure service life by at least 50 years and improved the overall health of Starkville’s sewer and wastewater systems.

The project scope included the replacement of Rolling Hills’ sewer system and completion of the third and final phase of Green Oaks’ sewer upgrade.

“These improvements were necessary to ensure that customers in the immediate impact areas and beyond will have reliable service for many years to come,” said Mary Williams, Starkville Utilities’ capital projects manager. “We appreciated residents’ cooperation throughout the process as we focused on working safely, minimizing service disruptions and preparing Starkville’s infrastructure system for the future.”

In addition to refurbishing more than five miles of sewer lines, crews rehabbed or replaced around 140 manholes and installed several new ones in both neighborhoods. Improvements included raised rims for easier maintenance access, internal seals to keep groundwater out, sturdier frames and covers, and corrosion-resistant internal coatings.

Although the projects focused on specific neighborhoods, Green Oaks and Rolling Hills aren’t the only areas that will benefit. That’s because sewer system upgrades also prevent groundwater and storm water intrusions that can overwhelm pipes downline, overload lift stations and send excessive volumes of non-wastewater to Starkville’s water treatment plant.

“In the long run, these improvements will save money by eliminating the need for repairs and making our systems run more efficiently,” Williams said. “They were timely investments to replace aging infrastructure and enhance service for current and future customers served by Starkville Utilities.”

Customer communications played a key role throughout the upgrades. Well before work began, Starkville Utilities held meetings with Green Oaks and Rolling Hills residents to discuss the project scope, answer questions and gather feedback.

“We had full houses for both community meetings,” said Bailey Wofford, system engineer for Starkville Utilities’ water and sewer division. “For those who couldn’t attend meetings, we gave them other options to contact the project team to get information. Communications is very important to us, internally and externally, and especially with customers we provide services for. ”

The project team also used email blasts and door hangers to keep residents informed about the work schedule and explain the process for digging in yards, when necessary. Most excavations occurred in early project phases as crews focused on pipes with serious structural issues that had to be dug up and replaced.

For most of the upgrades, however, workers were able to stay above ground and use camera-guided robotic tools to insert a plastic liner inside of existing pipes to create a jointless, seamless, fully integrated and intact sewer system. The rehab-in-place technology eliminated the need to dig up pipes or suspend service while work was in progress.

“The process essentially created a pipe within a pipe,” Wofford said. “The added structural support of the new liner made pipes stronger and able to withstand 50 or more years of pressure. By using an innovative technology, we extended the life of Starkville’s infrastructure and provided a sustainable product for customers that will keep their services flowing reliably and efficiently well into the future.”

Starkville Utilities is a municipally owned and operated electric and water utility, serving more than 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville as well as the state’s largest institution of higher learning, Mississippi State University.

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