Wednesday, April 23, 2014
   
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Costly sewer repairs on agenda

Council: South side expected to get relief first

It’s likely the south side of town will receive sewer attention first as that’s where infiltration of groundwater is the worst.

Aging sewer lines, in need of repair, took center stage at the Gothenburg City Council’s meeting May 15 when the city engineer presented findings from a televised sewer study.

The council discussed, at length, what to do about the problems and how to pay for costly improvements.

Because of west-ward voting in the primary election, in city council chambers, the council and others crowded into a small conference room adjacent to chambers.

The probable cost of all the sewer improvements suggested totals $4.7 million, according to Reed Miller, president of Miller & Associates Consulting Engineers of Kearney.

In 2010-11, the city had 25 miles of sewer main, in problem areas, televised.

Miller said, in some cases, a bigger line is not needed but the elimination of groundwater is. A particularly troublesome spot is near the Nebraska State Department of Roads on Highway 47.

“We found a bit of everything,” he said about the sewer study, noting that there were sags and cracks in clay pipes and sand in lines close to the viaduct, in the area of Sixth Street.

Some of the other findings Miller pointed out include:

a 15-inch main on the east side of town runs full most of the way to the wastewater treatment plant. The cost to install another 18-inch line, to alleviate the some of the volume and other improvements, carries a price tag of approximately $1.8 million. Removal and replacement of pavement is the most expensive part of the project at an estimated cost of $672,000.

the majority of sewer line problems are south of 12th Street. Sewer, in two and half blocks by Avenue G and 12th, needs replacement.

much groundwater seeps into the sewer in an area near Ninth and 10th Streets.

Miller said some of the sewer could be re-lined at a less costly price than removing and replacing concrete.

Re-lining creates a pipe within a pipe with a material that molds to the inside of the existing pipe to create a smooth, new inner wall, similar to the lining found in food cans.

Pipe bursting is another method in which small holes are made, where the damaged pipe starts and ends, and replacement pipe is pulled through the old path that breaks up damaged pipe at the same time.

The engineer noted that, based on a 13-year average, 493,000 gallons of sewer run through the wastewater treatment plant daily.

For a town the size of Gothenburg, 360,000 gallons should flow through the plant.

Council members discussed doing repairs and replacement of sewer in individual phases, avoiding pavement removal and replacement when possible

Miller said a Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality low-cost loan may be available to help with costs.

City administrator Bruce Clymer noted that payments from improvements on the Gothenburg Improvement Company’s Third Addition will end in December of 2016, which could free some money for sewer improvements.

“I think you design for the future and get the groundwater out,” Miller said, noting that perhaps the city focus initially on problems with pipe under Seventh, Sixth and Fourth Streets. “You’re going to see results.”

He added that in most towns his company does business there isn’t usually such a large area with sewer pipe problems.

Concrete found in some of the lines is from when plumbers installed taps into sewer mains to service homes and businesses.

In the end, the council asked Miller for cost estimates to do different sewer projects in the south part of town.

In other business, the council:

passed two ordinances on final reading—one allowing gas engines, at speeds no higher than 5 mph, on Lake Helen and another that changes acreage requirements in agriculturally zoned districts.

approved the appointment of Dean Kugler to the Gothenburg Airport Authority. Kugler will fill out the unexpired term of Roger Aden.

agreed to a deed of conservation easement between Central Platte Natural Resources District, Roger Wahlgren, LTD, R & J Wahlgren General Partnership and Connie Spence Revocable Trust.

Clymer said the easement is necessary so the Wahlgrens can sell water rights on pivot corners. The measure was approved by the planning and zoning commission.

decided to stay with the city’s current health insurance plan with Corporate Plan Management.

introduced an ordinance that vacates a portion of Eighth Street (Highway 30) and alley next to Sander Furniture. The action is necessary because the building is in state and city right of way.

set a special council meeting for Thursday, at 10 a.m., to talk about rehabilitation plans for Lake Helen.

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