Delta City adopts new sewer plan

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Video inspection will determine location, pace of repairs

Delta City’s sewer system is about to get some serious screen time.

City council members voted to adopt a sewer master plan at last Wednesday’s regular meeting. It calls for videoing the entire underground network of pipes and lift stations to determine where city maintenance attention is needed most.

The wastewater collection system is comprised of 143,088 feet of pipe. Almost 40 percent of the system consists of vitrified clay and asbestos cement pipes, some between 60 and 100 years old. Fifty years is a typical lifespan for underground sewer pipes.

The extensive camera work constitutes the first step in what could amount to a nearly $19 million overhaul of the entire system, according to the master plan produced by Sunrise Engineering.

Once officials get a good gander at what’s going on underneath the surface, a priority list of projects, divided into phases, will crystallize.

The master plan makes several recommendations, dividing the system into zones based on the lift station operating in each zone. There are six lift stations, two of which Sunrise engineers noted are in need of repair and rehabilitation.

The lion’s share of work appears to be needed in the zone with Lift Station A, which Sunrise engineers recommended the city bypass altogether in the future. Also in that zone, engineers say 43,200 feet of clay, asbestos and cement pipes need replacement.

Other recommendations engineers made included: replacing the main sewer line between Lift Station B and the wastewater treatment lagoons; upgrading Lift Station C and replacing 17,860 additional feet of clay and asbestos cement piping; upgrading Lift Station F and installing a new main sewer line between it and an interceptor at B, as well as more pipe replacement.

Council member Nick Killpack said he liked the changes Sunrise made to an earlier draft of the sewer plan.

“I like the set-up, getting recommendations by zone,” he said. “Giving us an idea of what needs to happen in each place instead of putting it into phases. It deconstructs it a little bit. But at the same time it puts us in a position to take a look at what we need to do and do it in an order that we feel will work best.”

Engineer Robert Worley, who presented the final plan draft to the council, said getting a system-wide video inspection of the sewer lines is key to planning out the costly and potentially disruptive repairs that may be needed.

“The videoing is a very high priority in my opinion. That will really paint a picture of the seriousness or the lack of seriousness of what you’re looking at,” he told council members.

Mayor John Niles agreed, saying the video work should tell city officials “when to start and where to start.”

The master plan notes the city has about a 20-year time horizon for repairing the aging system. Estimated costs would likely increase the longer the city waited to complete phases of the predicted work.

Sewer rates are likely to increase from the current $22 per residential sewer connection. The master plan noted that in the fiscal year ending in June 2019, net operating expenses for the sewer system will be about $550,974. “The average user rate would need to be $38.07 to cover this expense with user fees,” the plan states.

According to financing options presented to the city council, officials could decide to fund sewer improvements through a combination of low interest loans and grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Rate payers would also be counted on to help pay for improvements.

In two sample financing options in the master plan, the average monthly sewer rate is between $54.49 and $59.83, or between 2.5 and 2.7 times the current rate, respectively.

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