Port Wentworth GA Council Rethinks Water and Sewer Supplier Contract

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After two sewage spills and a water tank problem that resulted in a boil water advisory for some residents for several days, Port Wentworth city council met on Monday to discuss their relationship with the city’s water and sewer supplier.

ClearWater Solutions managed the city’s water, Waste, utilities and sewer lifting stations for three years. Their contract with the city expired on June 30.

While no votes were taken at Monday’s workshop, Mayor Gary Norton and council members agreed that any new deal with ClearWater Solutions must include more specific guidance on the scope of the supplier’s responsibilities. so that he can be held responsible for any future incidents.

“We’re not here to disparage ClearWater,” City Manager Edwin Booth said at the workshop, “(but) the contract really doesn’t have any specifics and that’s why it’s hard to hold a bank accountable. business.”

The mayor and council were also in favor of reviewing a month-to-month contract and modeling that relationship after ClearWater Solutions’ agreement with Garden City. The neighboring municipality operates its own public works department which manages some services and subcontracts others to ClearWater Solutions.

Booth says setting up a public works department would cost about the same as their current contract with ClearWater Solutions.

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“Right now ClearWater is costing us $ 1,750,000. Garden City pays them about half of it, so if we take half of it, we would just have to establish a public work and give ClearWater a fair profit.” said Booth.

The two major sewage spills that occurred in March and June of this year were top concerns for city officials and residents in attendance. the first spill, near Waffle House off August Road, has been resolved. the second, which occurred at the intersection of Armadale Road and Osteen Street, is in the process of being resolved by the state.

During the workshop, Booth said he will need to make sure all lift stations are repaired so that another spill does not occur.

Gary Norton

According to Booth, the spills occurred due to faulty pipes supplied by a subcontractor to ClearWater Solutions.

“We would like a group of professionals to come and rework all the lift stations,” said Mayor Gary Norton. “The pump we had was not enough for what we needed and a line broke.”

In addition, Norton suggested that each lifting station be equipped with a back-up pump as well as other equipment such as a generator and a rigid hose to ensure safety.

The boil water advisory was in effect between July 11 and 13 for residents of Port Wentworth north of Jimmy Deloach Parkway. The order was the result of a water tank pressure problem involving 350,000 gallons of water, on which residents and the city’s fire department depend.

According to discussions, an electrical failure in the alarm system delayed ClearWater Solution’s response to the pressure problem.

“Anytime the pressure drops below 20 pounds for more than 20 minutes you post a boil water advisory, you have to take samples and put them back because there is a possibility of contamination,” said Booth, who has noted that it may have been very weak. in that case.

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Ray Rafalowski, a town resident who attended the workshop, said he found out about the boil water advisory via social media and then informed Rice Hope’s neighbors via Facebook.

“I don’t know what happened to the rest of the community, but there were people who called the police department and didn’t get a response,” Rafalowski said.

Notices have been sent out by the media and FEMA, but to reassure the public receiving notice in the future, notices will also be posted on the city’s website, the city manager said.

Booth says ClearWater Solutions has not reported any major issues until this year.

City Council will discuss its future relationship with ClearWater Solutions in more detail at its next regular meeting scheduled for July 29.

“We’re going to sit down and discuss it and get out of this. We want to do what’s best for the city… we’re here for the partnership,” said Rick Ailiff, president of ClearWater Solutions.

Nancy Guan is the general-duty reporter covering Chatham County municipalities. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @nancyguann.


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