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Fixing St. Augustine's failed sewer system

Raw sewage spill 050613 (Nora Satterfield)
Raw sewage spewing into the San Sebastian River after heavy rains caused the sewer system to overflow (Nora Satterfield)
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Updated: 5/07/2013 9:14 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE Fla. -- Homeowners are relieved that the St. Augustine's Public Works department was finally able to repair the failed sewer man hole on her property after it couldn't stand up to heavy rains over the weekend.

"It blew that cinder block out a foot," Nora Satterfield said.

But Satterfield says the aging sewer systems in St. Augustine, some more than 100 years old, are in dire need of more than just patchwork.

"They need brand new sewage starting from Masters Drive this way," said Satterfield.

Action News took her concerns to the Department of Public Works. They say the city can't afford a major sewer overhaul.

"It's tens of millions of dollars I couldn't tell you how many millions of dollars it would be to repair the entire sewer system," said Public Works deputy director, Todd Grant.

Instead of a permanent fix Deputy Director Todd Grant says the city is spending $300-$400,000 a year maintaining the old system.

"One program we have is slip lining which basically puts a compressed PVC pipe through the old clay pipe and it gets injected with steam and it becomes a plastic pipe so that defrays the costs of having to tear up roads," he said.

But that's not enough for Satterfield who says her new and improved manhole is a ticking time bomb waiting to burst all over again come the next storm.

She hopes the city comes to another solution in order to protect the waterways.

"It took them 70 years to clean up this river and now it's taken like two seconds to ruin it," she said.

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1country - 5/8/2013 3:37 PM
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Why is there a sewer in the marsh? Seems like it would have to be below sea level! Looks to me like flooding would be a no brainer.
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