Fort Valley officials work to improve storm water system

FORT VALLEY — Fort Valley officials are moving forward with plans to improve the city’s storm water system.

Plans call for everything from buying new equipment to renovating the entire pipe system. Total costs for the project are estimated at $3.75 million. Most of the money for the project will come from $2.7 million in special purpose local option sales tax funding.

First, the city must buy a specialized truck — estimated to cost $300,000 — that will remove debris from the city’s storm water pipes. City officials and the Fort Valley Utility Commission are expected to form a task force to decide on the best truck for the job.

Clearing of debris is essential in solving Fort Valley’s storm water problems, said engineer Mark Gatlin, of Carter & Sloope, a Macon-based engineering and consulting firm.

“The storm water pipes, if they’re not completely clogged, they’re close to it,” Gatlin said.

The city also wants to hire a contractor to do the job, which includes using cameras in the system and prioritizing problem areas. Areas of the highest priority will get repaired first.

“We don’t have the people trained on the truck yet, and we can’t afford to release people from other tasks,” Mayor John Stumbo said.

Gatlin said the job could be completed within six months.

City Councilwoman Beth Collins said evidence of the need for the improvements could be seen downtown where recent rains flooded the area.

“This could really help us,” Collins said of the improvement project.

To contact writer Natasha Smith, call 923-3109, extension 236.