The Springfield Sanitary Sewer System
The City of Springfield's first documented sewers were built in 1894 west of Grant, between College and Walnut Street. Those sewers ran northwest to Jordan Creek where a sand filter treatment facility was located until 1910. These first sewers were built of brick and clay with brick manholes. Between 1894 and 1910, 41 miles of sewers and 975 manholes were constructed. In 1910 a new treatment facility was constructed further downstream on Jordan Creek, north of Catalpa Street. This facility utilized sand filters and a traveling bridge and is believed to be the first of its kind west of the Mississippi River. From 1911 to 1937, 96 miles of sewers and 2,254 manholes were built.
The first Northwest Treatment Plant was built near Doling Park on an unknown date. In the early 1930's the Northwest plant moved to a location near Fulbright Spring where it remained in operation until 1987, when it was replaced with a new facility located on the Sac River west of Highway 13.
In 1922 the Southwest Treatment Plant moved south of Bennett street where Jim Ewing Park is now located. This was one of the first activated sludge plants ever constructed. From 1937 to 1957, 68 miles of sewers and 1611 manholes were built. Clay pipe was used until about 1960 when vitrified clay, cast iron and reinforced concrete pipe began to be used.
In 1959 a new Southwest Treatment Plant was constructed at its current location on Wilson's Creek. It employed an innovative process involving the Krauss modification to the activated sludge process. In 1966 Springfield became one of the first cities to utilize remote TV camera technology for internal pipe inspection. In 1976, the City began using polyvinyl chloride (pvc) pipe for sanitary sewer construction.
The City currently maintains a system that includes over 1,176 miles of sanitary sewer pipe, 19 lift stations, and over 27,953 manholes, lamp holes, wet wells, and flush tanks. Springfield's gravity sewer system ranges in size from 4 inches to 72 inches in diameter; pressure sewer lines range from 3 inches to 36 inches in diameter. Springfield's sewer main depths vary from 3 feet to 94 feet. New sewers are being built at a rate of 20-25 miles a year. If Springfield's sewer system was placed end to end, it would extend from Springfield to Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada.