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Columbia City Council approves sewer, storm water plan

UPDATE: The Columbia City Council unanimously approved the plan Monday night.

ORIGINAL: The Columbia City Council is scheduled to consider the integrated management plan at its meeting Monday night, charting which sewer and storm water projects to target in the future.

The plan was created in response to inquiries from state and federal regulators. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wanted the city to develop the plan for public health reasons. The agencies asked the city to establish a plan after problems with sewage back up into basements and pollution in Hinkson Creek.

If the city council approves the integrated management plan, the city will send it to DNR for approval.

The five-year plan identified by Columbia Utilities staff includes $5.4 million in storm water infrastructure projects and $17.6 million in sewer fixes.

The plan calls for the city to fix at least one percent of the city’s 705 miles of gravity sewer lines a year. It also recommends the city council appropriate $100,000 a year for the next five years for backflow prevention devices, designed to stop raw sewage from bubbling up into people’s basements during rain or other wet-weather events.

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