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Springfield: $55 Million in Sewer Repairs Needed
When it rains it pours. There's millions of dollars in deferred sewer infrastructure repairs needed all over the capital city, recently coming to surface in budget hearings. Just in sewers, city leaders are looking at $55 million in underground repairs.
The sound of rain brings worries that flood a north Springfield neighborhood.
"It just all fills up with water, it comes halfway up my yard to my sidewalk," Kathy Richards said.
For 25 years, Richards dealt with standing water in her neighborhood from drains backing up.
"So its bad," Richards said. "They need to do something about it."
The biggest problem is not what you can see. It's what's underground.
"A lot of these needs have built up over the years and we're getting to the point if we don't spend a significant amount of money to address them, they're only going to get worse," Springfield Public Works Director Mark Mahoney said.
$55 million in sanitary sewer repairs are needed. The city wants to divide them up over a 10-year period and projects like the Cook Street sewer district face one big problem.
"We do not have the funding currently to take care of them," Mahoney said.
Only $625,000 was budgeted for this next fiscal year and about $5.5 million should be spent yearly.
There's worry the city could soon face tougher environmental regulations to eliminate sewer overflows.
"The EPA stepping up the enforcement of the clean water act," Mahoney said.
Repairs identified don't include the storm water repair issues.
"If I don't clean it out, you'll get a lot of water in the street," Walter Dawler said.
Dawler thinks part of the solution does not flow from the bank.
"If people keep their yards clean it would take care a lot of the problem," he said.