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Joplin city officials hope sewer project improves nearby river q - KOAM TV 7

Joplin city officials hope sewer project improves nearby river quality

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The City of Joplin begins work on a project up clean up sewer water.  The project may be of especially good news to some homeowners who have ever had a sewer backup.  But the project also aims at improving river water quality that eventually ends up as drinking water.


One sewer line in Joplin dates back to the 1940's.


"The sewer has served the public for 66 years," says City Engineer Dan Johnson.


But a robotic camera points out how all those years have turned into scars.


"They're at the end of their design life," says Johnson.


Holes in the concrete sewer pipe, caused by the ground shifting or soil contracting because of droughts, then allow outside water to infiltrate the sewer pipe.  The pipe could collapse.


"Not only the fact that we have an interruption in service, possible waste water backing into basements and homes, but you also face having to react quickly," says Johnson.


So contractors are right now preparing a 1,200 foot sewer pipe system for a new inner lining.  The hope is, besides reducing sewer backups in homes, fish in the Spring River will be happier.


"Spring River is currently impaired because of heavy metals," says Carl Hayes, an environmentalist with Cherokee County.


Think of this as a domino effect, above and below ground.


"The ground water here, due to a lot of mining activity in the past, it has very high levels of metals.  Lead and cadmium.  And those metals go down to our treatment plant.  We are able to take some of them out, but we can't get them all out," says Johnson.


Local water quality officials, like Hayes, say the EPA has set an advisory against eating shell fish from Spring River because of a high heavy metal count.


"When it comes to infrastructure projects, it's all road and bridges, and they don't think of what's underneath the ground.  And that's going to come back and bite us one day," says Hayes.


It's one day that city workers in Joplin hope won't happen because of the work being done today.  Simply put:  Cleaner water going in and out.


"A great deal of effort and a great deal of your tax dollars and your funds go into maintaining this," says Johnson.


The round of work being done right now is at the intersection of Anderson and Morgan.  It's expected to cost about $300,000.  More areas will be worked on in the coming months.



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