Loan Plan Exceeds $ 27 Million For Traverse City Sewage Disposal | Local news


TRAVERSE CITY – Repairs to the regional sewage treatment plant Traverse City could only be the beginning of a five-year undertaking with several possible wastewater projects.

That is, if the city qualifies for a loan of up to $ 27,492,000 from the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund. This could fund projects on the order of $ 400,000 from replacing a sewer line and reconnecting utility lines under US-31 to a series of repairs to the sewer system that could exceed $ 14 million.

Art Krueger, the city’s utility director, said the public could weigh the plan and the city would have a June 1 deadline to submit it to the state, should commissioners agree after a public hearing on May 17.

The plan lists all of the potential projects, but does not oblige the city to carry them all out exactly as they are planned, nor in the order in which they are tentatively planned, City Director Marty Colburn said.

An important part of the pipeline that distributes the wastewater after the earliest treatment stages, the so-called primary collector, urgently needs to be replaced. This emerges from a study that recommended replacing some treatment mechanisms just before and after these pipelines, in part because replacing them could determine how the city replaces the primary manifold.

The age of some of these components also plays a role, as the sludge collecting machines at the bottom of today’s primary clarifier come from the construction of the plant in the 1930s. This is an example of why the study included alternatives to repair or replace existing components.

The loan application also includes three alternatives to address inflow and infiltration problems that allow groundwater and rainwater to enter leaking sewers and access holes that are believed to be the cause of three sewer leaks in the Boardman River in 2020. You are:

  • $ 4.2 million to build a new main elevator station near Wadsworth and Fifth Streets;
  • $ 4.2 million for a 500,000 gallon retention basin, pumping station, and power line; or
  • $ 1.72 million for 7,500 feet of sewer relining and 75 access hole repairs.

Another $ 200,000 study would help the city pinpoint problem areas, Krueger said.

“We are currently monitoring the rivers, but this is an expanded version of this study to look further and deeper to try to pinpoint the inflow and infiltration areas,” he said.

Also on the list are East Front Street works, which cost $ 860,000 for major sewer works, including 720 feet of relining and replacing 20 service lines. Likewise, $ 2,699,000 to replace a UV disinfection system, the final step in treating the drain from the sewage system.

A sewer line along the Boardman River perched on a water-washed wall is also planned, with $ 2,853,000 – Krueger said all project estimates are round numbers and that one is higher than previously stated.

“This is mainly to make sure we’re in the right area,” he said.

Should the city decide to tackle all projects, the total project costs, spread over 9,570 residential connections over a 20-year payback with 2 percent interest, would be $ 13.18 per month, according to the report – Krueger said afterwards, that this amount doesn’t translate directly into rate increases.

In the meantime, the budget proposal for July 2021 to June 2022, as previously reported, provides for an interest rate hike of 3 percent for both water and wastewater customers. It also includes the final payment for a previous loan to upgrade the sewage system to a membrane filtration system – City Director Marty Colburn previously told commissioners that repaying this loan would free up funds for future infrastructure work.

Commissioner Tim Werner said he believed repairing river walls was a lower priority and he had questions about a study on the possibilities of repairing wastewater treatment plants. He hoped to see more opinions to help him decide what really needs to be done at the facility.

Five parishes share ownership of the sewer system with the city, and Commissioner Brian McGillivary said their contributions through the Grand Traverse County Board of Public Works could competitively support the application – Krueger said he was in the process of doing the studies behind the project list for Submit loan applications to the board.

McGillivary also said he wanted to give higher priority to treating tributaries and infiltrations, as keeping excess water out of the sewer system could lower the cost of running the treatment plant.

“The outflow of cash is my main concern and the impact it has on fee payers,” he said.


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