Archive for Thursday, May 18, 2006

Initial plans outlined to city on wastewater

May 18, 2006

Baldwin City Council members were brought up to speed on an ongoing wastewater study currently underway by BG Consultants which will find solutions for capacity issues in the city sewer lines.

David Hamby of BG Consultants spoke to the council and showed them maps of what is being done.

"This is kind of an update on where we're at and to get any input that you might have," said Hamby. "The report is almost prepared. The soil borings where done Friday, so we don't have that information. We'll have that and expected costs in the final report."

City Administrator Jeff Dingman explained Tuesday what the focus of the project is.

"If you'll remember from previous general discussion, our western sewer interceptor is very near capacity," said Dingman. "If the other two phases of Firetree were complete, we would very likely have to halt any further development up north until we could remedy the capacity issues. We commissioned this study to see what the best relief for that problem would be, and also to evaluate the possibility of eliminating the two lift stations as (utility director) Bill (Winegar) mentioned last night.

"That is significant, as the lift stations require maintenance and energy to operate, and a solution operated by gravity is preferable, not to mention that lift stations in and of themselves have a capacity limit as to how much flow they can handle," he said.

The issue has been known for some time and the council has been budgeting for the process for awhile.

"As Mr. Hamby mentioned, this report will define the specifications of the project he outlined last night, as well as give us an opinion of probable cost," said Dingman. "Also, as (council member) Ted (Brecheisen Jr.) mentioned, we have been 'saving' for this project. The sewer connection fees that we charge for adding a new service to the wastewater system have been accumulating and are intended for just this sort of expansion project, and the FY2006 budget includes an expenditure of $400,000 for this project. I would be surprised if the estimate is less than that, and it most likely will be more.

"As Bill mentioned, we would likely get into actual design this fall, perhaps starting the project toward the end of the year," he said. "I don't anticipate that we'll need to borrow funds to accomplish this, but that all depends on the cost. The gist of his presentation last night was that he was meeting the obligations of our consulting agreement with him to solicit public comment/input on the proposed project before he presents it as the official recommendation."

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