Sanitary Sewer Operations & Maintenance

The Sanitary Sewer Operations and Maintenance program is split into two distinct sections; the Collector / Analysis, Inspection, Maintenance, Support (A.I.M.S) section and the Pump Station section.

Collector/AIMS Section

The Collector / A.I.M.S section has two Operations Supervisors that oversee the daily operations and report to the Operations Superintendent.

Sewer Stoppages

Crews are responsible for investigating stoppages and marking emergency requests for wastewater utility marking. Stoppage Crews are available for work on a sixteen-hour a day basis. The Stoppage Crews are equipped with a probing rod and metal detectors and are the “first responders” to customer calls for service. The Stoppage Crew will investigate the cause of the sewer stoppage and will clear blockage when able, or call in additional crews to clear the blockage.

Collector Operations: sewer construction/installation/repair

This section is responsible for the repair or replacement of broken sanitary sewer mainlines, laterals, and manholes. This section also handles all new residence tie-ins, contractor coordination for new residential sewer connection issues and support in helping septic tank users transition to City of Newport News sewer service.

Analysis, Inspection, Maintenance and Support (AIMS)

The primary mission of the AIMS group is the analysis and inspection of the City of Newport News sanitary sewer mainlines, laterals, and manholes. This cyclic program utilizes state-of-the-art equipment including laptop computers, CCTV, robotics, and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) to analyze the entire City of Newport News sewer system by pump station service area. These analysis/inspection programs result in identifying all problem areas of the service area’s sewer system. Repairs or replacements that can be accomplished with city personnel will be given to Collection Operations. Work that requires a contractor will be scheduled in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) with the Engineering Department.

Additional units in the AIMS group are assigned to inspect sewer lines prior to street reconstruction. This concept permits a comprehensive inventory of the city’s sewer lines in advance of major street work. As a part of our preventative maintenance program, crews are also assigned to clean sanitary sewer mainlines throughout the city. Preventive maintenance of these lines helps to mitigate sewerage overflows. Crews are also assigned to clean sanitary sewer mainlines throughout the city. Preventive maintenance of these lines helps to mitigate sewerage overflows.

Smoke TestingOne of the components of our sewer inspection program is smoke testing of the sewer mainline. Smoke testing is designed to find leaks in the sewer system. If we are planning to conduct this type of inspection in a residential area, a letter is supplied to the citizens in advance of the actual work. The letter describes the types of work that we are conducting as well as detailed information about the product we are using.

It is important to note that if smoke is observed inside a residence, there is usually one of the following problems: 

1. A dry trap from a basement or shower. 
2. A leaking toilet wax seal. 
3. A stopped up roof vent. 

In the cases listed above, there is a potential for sewer gas to enter the residence. Immediate action should be taken on the part of the homeowner to repair the problem. 

Here is an example of some problems that can cause infiltration and inflow into the sewer system. 

Here is a sample of how your sewer lateral ties into the sewer system.

Miss Utility Operations - Engineering Technician and Utilities Locator

The Engineering Technician & Utilities Locator is responsible for reviewing and maintaining the plans and blueprints of all sanitary and storm sewer infrastructure components.

The Virginia Miss Utility Law requires that all city sewer lines are marked and identified within 48 hours of notification. Using highly technical locating equipment, the Engineering Technician and Utilities Locator are able to prevent damage to our infrastructure by contractors and other utility owners / operators. The Engineering Technician and Utilities Locator is responsible for the receipt, dispatch, and tracking of all Miss Utility tickets transmitted to the division. They work closely with Miss Utility of Virginia in using the "One Call Automatic Retrieval System" (Polaris Utility Locate Ticket Management Software), which is a web-based data entry and retrieval system. These positions report directly to the Operations Supervisor.

Pump Station Operation and Maintenance

Pump Station
There are currently over 190 pumping stations located throughout the city. Maintenance and Instrumentation Control Specialist Teams under the direction of the Pump Station Operations Superintendent perform preventive and corrective maintenance on all mechanical and electrical equipment associated with the stations. Additionally, four Generator Specialists perform preventive and corrective maintenance on emergency generators for pumping stations.

Modern technology plays an important role in the activities of this group. The latest upgrade in the city’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition technology (SCADA) system is in Phase II of a three phase program of installation. This new SCADA system will integrate existing and new systems to continuously monitor all sewer flows, wet well levels, system pressures, and overall condition of the pumping stations from our operations center in the Public Works Complex. It will also allow a significant improvement in system integration between our software and hardware systems as never before. In addition this will also allow our pumping stations to be remotely controlled by specialized computer technology as needed during severe storm events. An apprenticeship program for Pumping Station Mechanical and Electrical personnel has been established which will help to assure that our staff is trained in the latest technology and personnel development training.

Pump Station Operations Superintendent

There are two Operations Superintendents for the Pump Station section. One Superintendent is in charge of the mechanical portions of the pump stations and the valve maintenance, overseeing the Maintenance Mechanics and the Maintenance Specialists. The other Operations Superintendent for the Pump Station section oversees the electrical and generator portions of the pump stations, overseeing the Instrumentation Control Specialists, the Electricians, and the Generator Specialists.