Water and Sewer Director Leigh Ross said the culprit was a combination of hydrogen sulfide gas and water moisture that ate away the top of a cast iron pipe and caused a sewage spill.
“We replaced the section with a plastic pipe and that took care of the immediate problem,” Ross said. “This winter we’ll replace all the cast iron.”
The original cast iron pipe dates to 1992. Ross said the city now uses ceramic-lined pipes that aren’t subject to corrosion.
Complaints about odors started after the Galey & Lord and Florida Tile plants closed and the water-flow in the pipes decreased.
Several solutions were tried before the city hit on the addition of a chemical equivalent to Milk of Magnesia that appears to have resolved the issue.
Rome also is finishing up the installation of a new bar screen assembly at the Coosa Water Reclamation Facility. The screens are used to filter debris and other solids that can clog and damage sewer lines.
“We kept getting these big loggerhead turtles tearing up our pumps,” said Johnny Massingill, director of water pollution control facilities.
Massingill said the project, which started in April, is about a month behind schedule. The work is expected to be done in October.
City officials also are putting the finishing touches on a new design for water and sewer bills.
“It’s a little different format and it will have a return envelope,” Ross said.
Customers will be able to see comparisons of their previous water and sewer usage and receive messages or inserts from the city when there is information to share.
Ross said the new bills are expected to be in use by late September or the first part of October.