Toledo City Councilors were reminded this week that the town’s sewer system is being infiltrated with a sizeable quantity of rain/stormwater. The added liquid loads up the sewer plant which poses capacity problems and with that causes operating challenges in treating regular sewage flows.
Toledo Public Works Director Mike Adams says it’s a common problem, especially for rainy coastal areas of the country – certainly Oregon. He says the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is well aware of Toledo’s problem and has been working closely with the city to solve it. At this point, Adams says he’s analyzing the situation and figuring out the costs of plugging holes in stormwater and sewer pipes or outright pipe replacements. Of course none of it’s cheap and will require government loans and/or grants along with possibly local funds to fix the situation.
Adams says his next step is to see if the city qualifies for financial assistance. Small towns are usually cash-strapped although sewer rate hikes can be, and often are, part of the solution.
The over-arching purpose of all this is to keep Oregon’s creeks and rivers healthy for fish and wildlife including fishermen, swimmers and boaters.
Adams says the city and the DEQ will be reviewing the situation closely over the next few months to determine what specific repairs need to be made, at what cost, and where to find the money.