Contract bids underway for sewer restoration project in Cherokee

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CHEROKEE, Ala. (WHNT) - After years of waiting and months of questions to WHNT News 19, a sewer system upgrade is finally on the way to the town of Cherokee.

Members from the U.S. Department of Agriculture were in Cherokee Tuesday meeting with the town council. They officially opened contract bids for a sewer restoration project the community has waited years to start.
"One contract will be to go in and line the pipes that are leaking to fix the leaks, what's called infiltration and inflow," explained engineer Richard Edmonds. "The other contract is to replace some of the pump stations that pump four miles to the lagoon."Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 6.24.32 PM
The USDA issued both a grant and a loan for the town's project totaling $2,165,000. Cherokee's town clerk Melinda Malone provided documents showing the original financial agreement back in 2011.
However, city leaders had to prove they could pay that loan back before the USDA would even release the money. Those funds came in the form of higher waste water fees for neighbors earlier this year. Months later, the process is starting.
"So far, we've done what's called a video inspection of the existing sewer lines to find out where the leaks and the cracks are and determine what needs to be fixed," Edmonds said.
The main problem they're fixing is the overflow of sewage after heavy rain.
"Groundwater gets into the system through all those cracks and it overflows the pump stations. The pump stations weren't able to handle the flow. They'll have a system that will last them for many years."Next, leaders will tabulate contract bids, and council members will approve a contractor for the project. If all goes according to plan, city leaders expect to start the sewer restoration project this fall.