The City of Shreveport has agreed to make $342 million worth of improvements to its sewer system over the next 12 years.

Courtesy of the Shreveport Water and Sewage Board
The Shreveport Water and Sewage Department will repair its sewer system over the next 12 years, with work split into five phases.

The improvements are part of a consent decree to settle violations of the Clean Water Act. A complaint by the Environmental Protection Agency alleges that raw sewerage has spilled into surrounding waterways since 2005 due to inadequate operation and maintenance of the system.

Shreveport Water and Sewage Department Director Barbara Featherston says the system has over 1,100 miles of piping with 15,000 manholes and 128 lift stations. The wastewater treatment and collection system serves approximately 220,000 people.

The consent decree for repair and rehabilitation is split into five phases with each phase entailing approximately one million feet of gravity sewer. Featherston says they will have a year to complete the investigatory work in the first basin and another two to four months to complete the report and plans.

"We expect to start putting projects into place around the start of 2015. We're looking at a 12-year schedule for all the work but we expect most to be completed in eight to ten years," says Featherston.

Featherston says much of the system is "in bad shape" and will require extensive pipe removal and replacement. The department will use various methods of pipeline rehabilitation including pipe bursting, cured-in-place pipelining and limited sliplining. There will also be extensive rehabilitation of the trench lifts.

"There are lots of utilities and homes across much of the area so we're hoping for a lot of trenchless rehabilitation and replacement so we don't have to pay for so many driveways," she says.

Featherston says they're going to try to diversity the size of the projects so that both local construction companies and regional firms have an opportunity to have the ability to work on the system in the coming years.