Sewer pipe is being laid in Price as part of the Price Water Improvement District's replacement work.
Over the last month, chances are drivers have run across those familiar orange construction signs notifying residents that work is being done. But the work is more than just orange signs sitting on the street.
Price City is currently working on three different projects worth over $2 million dealing with upgrading and improving sewer and water lines in some areas of the city. The Price City Municipal Corporation wastewater and waterline distribution line replacement projects include two water lines and one sewer line, according to Price City Public Works Director Gary Sonntag.
While normally each year about $100,000 is spent on fixing and repairing the sewer lines throughout the city, this project is more extensive and is designed to bring the sewer lines up to state codes and replace the old pipes with newer and more reliable pipes.
The work on the sewer lines began on Feb. 15 and the project is expected to be completed in 200 days and finish sometime in September. The bid for the work was awarded to Silver Spur Construction based out of Draper for $772,933. The city applied for money from the stimulus for both projects and took out low interest loans to cover the costs.
Covering the costs for the projects was a major point of emphasis for Price City, Sonntag said.
"We wanted to be able to afford the projects and not go into debt," Sonntag said.
About two years ago there was a serious problem with flooding that occurred, causing about $100,000 worth of damage, Sonntag said. He also mentioned that the city was lucky that the cost to fix and repair the lines wasn't higher than it was.
"It (the flooding incident) provided us with a real snapshot of our old pipeline system," he said. "It was aging."
Things like tree roots growing around the pipes and rusting of the pipes are other examples of what can contribute to the sewer lines not working correctly, according to City Engineer Russell Seeley.
The sewer lines, which were considered to be about 94 years old, did not meet the state requirements on size. The clay tile sewer lines below the city are only four to six inches in diameter. The state requires that sewer and water lines be eight inches in diameter.
The new pipes are expected to last the city for about 90 years, if not longer, Seeley said.
"We would have eventually completed all of these fixes to the lines," said Seeley. "This usually would take the city seven to 10 years to complete but we just combined everything together,"
The sewer project will include about 21 city blocks with 9,100 feet of sewer line being replaced. A newer PVC pipe is being used to replace old lines, new manholes are being put in and the project is also reconnecting existing pipes as well. Overall, about 190 homes will be connected to the sewer lines when all of the work is completed.
The construction crew is tackling the difficult areas first and are moving one city block at a time, Sonntag said.
The two water projects include replacing water lines around the city and moving a pipe from that was originally laid underground and moving it adjacent to the U.S. 6 Eastbound off-ramp and S. Carbon Avenue bridge.
The water lines throughout the city date back to about 1924 and much like the sewer lines, are in desperate need of repair, Sonntag said.
The water line construction contract was awarded to Terry R. Brotherson Excavating based out of Mount Pleasant for $938,450.79. The work began on Feb. 1 and is expected to be finished on August 20, 2010.
While this is considered to be the biggest distribution line ever undertaken by the city, it isn't the most expensive.
In 1996, $4 million was spent on a 10 million gallon storage tank for water. The storage tank holds enough water to last the city for three days, Seeley said. In 2001, $10 million was spent to replace a water transmission line.
The water line project will have about 12,000 feet of lines across parts of the city creating a connection to 248 homes. The water pipes were not up to state standards either and the city is working closely with the State Division of Drinking Water to make sure the quality of the water is up to state standards, Sonntag said.
Water lines are important to replace not only because of their age, but also the condition of the pipes. Problems such as rust can create holes in the line creating flow problems and water main breaks can cause service interruption to homes, cost the city money and maintenance crews hours to repair lines.
The construction crew is digging trenches in the streets that range from eight to 20 feet long. Work is being done to prevent cave-ins from happening by preventing the sides from collapsing inward as holes are being dug about six feet deep.
The third project, involving digging up the pipe from under the Price River, is expected to be completed in about a month, Sonntag said. State engineers and the Department of Transportation are working closely with the city on the project due to the proximity of the pipe and the highway.
While the work has caused street closures and created uneven and pockmarked roads, the streets will be repaved where work was done. When everything is complete the work will be beneficial to residents of the city, Sonntag said.
"We're real fortunate to receive the funding to do projects like this," Sonntag said. "To be able to do big projects like this saves all of us a lot of time and money in the end."