June 2, 2021
Work is progressing on schedule and on budget for the Green Oaks sewer upgrade project, a major step in Starkville Utilities’ five-year capital improvement plan to upgrade a large portion of the city’s aging sewer infrastructure.
Since February, crews have completed nearly 50% of the project scope, which involves refurbishing 3.5 miles of sewer lines using modern, minimally invasive cured-in-place robotic technology. Starkville Utilities is on track to complete the upgrade in October.
“We are seeing positive results with the new technology and are keeping service disruptions to a minimum for customers, as promised,” said Terry Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “The Green Oaks upgrade is part of our Future FOCUS initiative to manage utility assets in a responsible, sustainable manner that benefits customers and the city of Starkville for generations to come.”
The “rehab in place” technology involves inserting a plastic liner inside of existing pipes to create a jointless, seamless, fully integrated and intact sewer system. The new liner’s longevity and performance are comparable, and in some cases superior, to replacing the system with new pipes. The project scope also includes 93 manholes that will be rehabbed or replaced.
Crews have been working from manhole to manhole to install the liner in segments, an approach that allows them to return sewer lines to service almost immediately. So far, they’ve upgraded about 1.25 miles of existing sewer lines and are now focusing on older sections of the system located north of Douglas McArthur Drive that will require small-scale excavations and repairs before plastic liners can be installed.
“We’ve had zero liner failures or service failures since launching the upgrade, and we’re fortunate that our material supply chain was not affected by the pandemic,” said Vincent McKenzie, Starkville Utilities systems engineer. “High levels of planning, coordination and teamwork have kept the project moving forward, and ultimately our customers and the community will benefit from our proactive approach to improve Starkville’s sewer collection system.”
The Green Oaks project represents a $1.2 million investment, 80% of which has been funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through a competitive grant process, with the remaining portion funded by Starkville Utilities.
In addition, Starkville Utilities is wrapping up the first phase of the North Montgomery water main reinvestment project. Work kicked off in March with the removal of several trees whose roots had caused the four-foot sidewalk running from Oktibbeha Drive to Critz Street to buckle and become a hazard for pedestrians. After replacing four aging individual lines with a single, 10-inch fire-pressure main, crews built a wider, smoother and safer sidewalk that complies with American Disability Act standards.
As part of its five-year capital improvement plan, Starkville Utilities will be investing more than $25 million to replace aging portions of the city’s water and sewer services and update critical components at its wastewater treatment facility. In 2020, Starkville Utilities completed an upgrade project in Pleasant Acres, which involved replacing all water and sewer infrastructure. Similar projects also are being planned in Rolling Hills where engineering data is being collected.
“Planning for the future is a responsibility we take seriously, and infrastructure upgrades play an important role in Starkville’s quality of life and economic development,” Kemp said. “We’ll continue to keep customers updated on our ongoing efforts to provide safe, affordable and reliable utilities to serve their current and future needs.”
Starkville Utilities is a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.