After over three years in the making, the Clarkfield City Council voted Tuesday to move ahead in pursuing projects to update the city’s aging water and sewer infrastructure by assembling bids and moving forward with plans and specifications on three projects that have been designated as a high priority to the city and its residents.
The projects will be a reconditioning of Clarkfield’s water tower, the replacement of 12 gate valves in the city’s waste water lines and the removal of sludge from the city’s wastewater treatment ponds.
Prior to Tuesday’s regular council meeting the city council and the city’s public works department held concurrent work sessions to discuss a multitude of projects related to sewer and water. The council met with representatives of McCombs, Frank, Roos Associates (MFRA), the city’s preferred engineering firm, who presented a comprehensive water and sewer plan that included several improvements to the city’s infrastructure.
While the engineers educated the council on a number of water and sewer problems, their remedies and costs, the Clarkfield Public Works Department prioritized the list of projects the city might want to pursue.
“In our group,” began Public Works Director Jeff Lobdell. “We pretty much came to a concensus that the water tower is the highest priority.”
In engineering estimates, the total cost of reconditioning the water tower could be as much as $400,000, but Lobdell told the council he expected bids to come in much below that.
Priorities two and three meanwhile include the replacement of 12 gate vales that help manage the city’s wastewater flow and the removal of sludge built up in the city’s wastewater treatment ponds.
Again by engineering estimates the cost of the gate valve project could run as high as $75,000-$80,000. Meanwhile sludge removal from the ponds No. 1 and No. 2 at the city’s wastewater treatment facility is estimated at roughly $60,000.
The city will bond for the three projects and with that bond include the cost of the city’s recent water meter replacement project, which cost roughly $100,000. The overall bond amount will depend on how the projects are bid, but going by the (albeit high) engineering estimates the total amount could be as high as $700,000.
After this round of water and sewer projects are underway, the city can be expected to bond for another handful of projects that might include water main replacement and ways of alleviating the city’s problem with inflow and infiltration in their wastewater treatment lines.
The city plans to have bids, specifications and plans completed on the three projects they’re currently pursuing done by the end of March to make a 2013 deadline for a Minnesota Public Facilities Authority (PFA) revolving loan fund. The PFA administers and oversees the financial management of three revolving loan funds and other programs that help local units of government construct facilities for clean water (including wastewater, stormwater and drinking water) and other kinds of essential public infrastructure projects.