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Project to improve wastewater flow
The city is in the process of revamping its sewer delivery system in and around the Ceres wastewater treatment facility.

While nobody will notice a change, the project replaces an aging system and ensures Ceres will be able to handle its sewer flow to the plant for the next 30 to 40 years.

"It'll handle everything in the sphere of influence," said Michael Riddell, a superintendent with the city's Public Works Department. "This is really good planning and really good for the future."

The city has been planning the project for eight years but a wait resulted in a realization of lower construction costs. The original engineer's estimate was $3.6 million but the slowdown in the economy caused contractors to drop prices and the city awarded the winning bid of $2.4 million to Clark Brothers of Dos Palos. West Yost & Associates is overseeing the construction project.

The city issued bonds to cover the headworks, which accepts all sewage from all of Ceres through four major pipes.

A new headworks - built just south of Service Road on the city plant grounds - was required for several reasons. Riddell said that the city had to replace a major sewer trunk line down Service Road that takes care of much of the city. Because it had been installed in the mid-1960s, the concrete pipe had began to corrode. The city also wanted to upsize the pipe - from 21-inch to a 36- and 44-inch pipe - to accommodate more flow as Ceres grows with more residences, businesses and industries. But expanding pipe size meant the bottom of the pipe was four to five feet too low for the gravity flow system.

Complicating matters was a rule imposed by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board calling for headworks to be equipped to remove solids.

Riddell said that the 132 miles of Ceres sewer pipeline operates mostly on gravity flow but that there are 13 lift stations to pump against gravity.

Before it's completed next year, some disruptions to Service Road could occur when the city fills in the pipe being abandoned.