The City of Vicksburg Sewer Department is responsible for keeping both the sanitary and storm sewer lines open and flowing. Because of the terrain, the department employs the use of pumps and lift stations to keep the material moving. The department regularly cleans and repairs line and pumps to ensure the proper conveyance of the wastewater and the storm water run-off. The City of Vicksburg recently acquired a large vacuum truck that travels throughout the city removing debris from storm drains and collecting grease and other build-up in lines before they pose problems. The liquid and solids that are removed from the sewer lines are disposed of at the wastewater treatment plant and undergo further treatment there.

In some areas new line and new manholes are placed to deal with aging infrastructure as funding is available. Crews place the new lines in trenches dug to allow for proper vertical and horizontal alignment. Prefabricated manholes are used in some cases, and in others, the crews construct the manholes with brick and mortar. Dyes and smoke testing are used to locate leaks or breaks in the system. Special rod machines and high pressure water machines are used to remove stoppages. The number of lift stations the department maintains has grown rapidly annexation. In addition to the larger stations, a growing number of small grinder pump stations have been added. Several areas that were annexed are served by pressure lines where all the flow is moved by pumps. Gravity lines throughout the system are used where terrain permits and are a cost saving method of conveying the sewerage.

Why Sewer Service Is Important?

The proper conveyance and treatment of sewer is vital for the protection of public health. The addition of sewer service at a home or business also increases the property values. Many industries could not operate in our city without the conveyance of their pretreated liquid wastes and the eventual treatment and final disposal into the Mississippi River. The sewer department serves 9,350 customers through 300 miles of line. All this is accomplished by a dedicated staff of 19 men. Several of these men are available 24/7 to address the needs of the customers.

What You Get For The Fee You Pay?

The sewer department is responsible for the conveyance of domestic and industrial wastewater and the collection and disposal of storm water. But did you know that it also maintains and mans the pumping system and flood gates that border the Yazoo Diversion Canal in our Town? During the periods of the year that the Mississippi River rises above flood stage the sewer department places the flood gates in the flood wall and mans and maintains the pumping system that prevents flooding of many businesses and streets in the downtown area and along the entrance to the waterfront. All these services and the treatment and disposal of wastewater as well as the recycling of biosolids on local agricultural land are paid for by the user fees collected each month from our customers. So you see that actually multiple departments and their associated duties are funded by the small fees that the customers pay each month. The sewer fees customers pay are based on their water consumption.

What Can You Do To Help?

Never pour grease down a sink or drain. Kitchen grease should be placed in a small can and disposed of with household garbage. Never open or allow children to open a manhole cover. Toxic gases may collect in the system that could cause sickness or even death. Open manholes pose a real hazard to the public, particularly children at play. If you see a manhole cover off, contact the sewer department so that they can safely return them to their proper place. Covers are heavy and the crews have special hooks to replace them without causing injury to anyone. Never place objects in the system that don’t belong there. These include leaves, sticks, broken furniture, appliances and toys as well as plastic articles of any type. They are difficult to remove and can damage equipment or obstruct the flow of sewer and storm water. If you see or suspect a sewer leak, please report it promptly to the department. Every effort will be made to address these problems as soon as possible. Conserve water whenever possible. This helps in two ways. First, it assures that our supply of clean water will be available for future generations. It also helps to lower your monthly bill for both water and sewer treatment and disposal. Grass clippings can be bagged and disposed off or used for compost at your home. Placing them in the drain at the curb limits the amount of space for storm water to flow to, and prevents it from leaving your property due to stoppages. Teach your children that sewer lines and manholes are dangerous places to play near, but help them to understand their benefits and how to help protect our environment and our water resources.