Biloxi finds plenty of debris during inspection of water, sewer lines

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Crews are going underground this week to see what kind of junk Hurricane Katrina left behind.  The work is starting in east Biloxi, an area known for its aging drainage system.

"After the storm, there was quite a bit of debris that made its way into the storm and sewer lines," said Program Manager Brent Duet. "So this process, basically, they're hosing the line and they're vacuuming all that debris out."

Water flushes out the lines. Then, a large hose sucks out the debris and pumps it into a vacuum truck.

To give the crews a good picture of what really lies beneath, a remote-controlled camera comes into play.  The camera spins as it moves through the pipes, providing a 360-degree view of the lines.  A team inside a truck records the video to see if the pipes are clogged or possibly damaged.

"We have found some 2x4s, some tree limbs, an accumulation of gravel and debris," said Joe Crumby of Suncoast Infrastructure, a city contractor. "There's quite a bit, but the majority of the debris is the sand."

And if the objects are too large, "Typically, we might have to send a guy down to pull a 2x4 out," Crumby said.

It will take the workers until February to finish cleaning and inspecting up to 120,000 feet of storm and sewer pipes.

"If there were damages associated with the storm, then that would be an opportunity for the city to replace or fix that damage," said Duet.

The project is part of a $355 million program to repair or replace sewer and water lines, storm drains, and lift stations in Katrina-damaged areas of Biloxi.  The program is funded by FEMA.

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