PRWID Board Gives go Ahead for Water System Redevelopment
|Construction crews were working along Mountain States Road in Carbonville on Tuesday getting the cut that was made for the sewer ready for pavement. The actual process began on Wednesday.|
After the second public hearing in the last month on the matter, the Price River Water Improvement Districts board voted to go ahead with a project that will revamp much of the water system for five small private water companies, an action which will also lead to the absorption of those firms into the PRWID system.
Normally, public hearings are held only once on most local government decisions, but in this case the funding agency required two airings of the issue for public comment.
At the first public meeting on the decision held on Oct. 7 almost 20 people from the areas affected attended and most of the comments were concerns about road conditions and when the construction would be done. It seemed no one opposed the idea to fix the systems and convert the Carbonville, East Carbonville, Jewkes, East Wellington and Thayn water companies over to the county system.
At Tuesday nights meeting less than a dozen people attended, and once again construction problems having to do with the roads and how the water project will relate to the present installation of new sewer lines in some areas were the main subjects.
While the issues of the new water lines and the sewer project that is presently underway in part of Carbonville are not linked in any substantial way other than that they are PRWID projects, it has been hard for many residents to separate the activities, particularly when it comes to how it affects their travel on the roads in the area.
One of the questions asked by a citizen concerned pavement problems that could occur if the water line is installed during the winter and what the most cost effective way to tear up pavement for such projects is.
"The situation is such that much of the water line in East Carbonville is to be installed in non-pavement areas, so the compaction on that part of the line will not be as critical," said assistant district manager Jeff Richens. "We would think that a contractor would work in those areas before the thaw and then in the zones that will require compaction afterward."
The questions about roads stem from problems the contractor now doing the sewer line has been having in the Gardner Road area. Original plans called for about a two to three week project there, but because of ground water problems causing mud the construction has been slowed down considerably.
The staff also explained the way the water project would work and the timetable the district projects for it.
"Since the last public meeting we have received the plans and specifications for it," said Phil Palmer, district manager. "In another two weeks the final draft will be prepared."
Richens told the group that the timetable shows a bid opening the middle of November, a bond closing for the $904,000 bond toward the end of next month and hopefully a start on the project by the middle of December.
"There are some areas of the project, due to environmental restrictions, that must either be completed before March 15 of next year or we must wait to do them until after Sept. 15 next year," he said. "The environmental assessment also showed things we will have to do to mitigate our activities in some areas."
Richens went on to explain those areas including doing a bore under a wetlands area to keep from disturbing it, silt fences in streams and washes affected, and replanting some farm fields that will be disturbed by the construction.
The total public hearing only lasted a few minutes and afterward the board approved an ordinance that will allow the district to start charging the 213 connections $16.10 per connection per month for 20 years to pay for the upgrades. It had earlier been agreed as new hookups occur on the line they will also pay the same rate (in addition to the impact fee to hook up) and rather than the cost of each hookups monthly payment being reduced it be used to shorten the time before the bond is retired.
The board also approved placing advertising for the next three weeks for contractors to do the project. The bid will close at 5 p.m. on Nov. 18 and that evening the board will open the bids and select a firm to do the work.
The on-gong sewer project was also discussed later in the meeting. Richens told the board that the two Spring Glen projects are complete, with the pavement now replaced. He also said that part of the road near the Mountains States Road project had been repaved and that Nielsen Construction, the contractor for fixing the roads, was continuing to work in that area to get the roads finished.
As for the Gardner Lane project he told the board that he hoped that it would be done by the end of next week, barring any more problems and that the Bawdenville line should also be completed by then. The crews, he stated, will then move on to the projects in south Price and Wellington that still need to be started.
"With these projects done, when do people begin to hook their sewers onto them?" asked board member Steven Rigby.
"There is now service to the property lines of those affected by the projects and legally they have 90 days in which to hook up," Richens replied.
"But we also will work with people because we realize there are mitigating factors on this and sometimes they just can't get it done in that time period," interjected Palmer.
However, officials also stated at the board meeting that it would be mandatory for residents and businesses to hook on to the PRWID system once the line has been established.
Palmer indicated however, that the water improvement district does not plan to force the issue unless the time period goes on too long.
When asked what too long would be, the PRWID director said "next summer."
The members of the water improvement district board also accepted a premium reimbursement check from the state workers compensation for $1,183.20.
The money was refunded to PRWID because of the water improvement district's outstanding employee safety record during the past premium period
Last year, PRWID also received money back from workers compensation and the funds were used to provide safety equipment for one of the water district's operations.
The board will make a decision on using the 2003 refund at a later date.