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History of the Sewer System

On December 1, 1917, the City of Tyler purchased the Tyler Sewer Company, a privately owned company that had been providing sewer collection and treatment services to the residents of the City of Tyler since shortly after the incorporation of the City in 1850. The purchase, which cost the City $20,000, included 14 acres of land with a septic system, 62,877 feet (or nearly 12 miles) of sewer mains ranging in size from 4-inches to 10-inches in diameter and all easements and rights-of-way.

In the 100 years since then, the City's wastewater collection system has grown to include over 690 miles of sewer mains ranging in sizes from 6-inches to 54-inches in diameter, more than 9,000 manholes and 24 sewage pump stations (also known as lift stations). It is currently estimated that nearly 50% of the existing sewer system is over 50 years old.

 
12" sewer aerial crossing over Blackfork Creek

 

Estimated Age of Sewer System
Age Range (years) Percent of System
0 - 10 14%
10 - 20 9%
20 - 30 8%
30 - 50 22%
50+ 47%

 

The age of the system has resulted in numerous broken or leaking pipes and manholes. In addition, some segments of the system may not be adequately sized to carry the current wastewater flows generated in those areas. Finally, the system also experiences blockages from grease, roots and other debris that find their way into the sewer mains. The result of these issues has been that the City reported 577 sanitary sewer overflows (SSO's) to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) from January 1, 2005 through September 30, 2016.Therefore, in 2009, Tyler Water Utilities (TWU) was contacted by the EPA regarding SSO's dating back to 2005. Thus began a seven year negotiation with the EPA to develop an agreement known as a Consent Decree to address the aging wastewater collection system and the resulting discharges.

 
Greenbriar Lift Station, built in 1979