Hutchinson OKs seek nearly $5 million in sewer and waterline loans

Hutchinson City Council on Tuesday approved the request for two separate low-interest loans from the state to address issues with aging water and sewer infrastructure in the city.

One will help replace the last five of nearly three dozen sewer lift stations installed around the city in the 1970s and 1980s, said Public Works Director Brian Clennan, as well as to upgrade the deteriorated grit removal equipment at the city’s sewage treatment plant.

The other will begin to move the city toward a goal of replacing over 3 miles per year of failing water mains around the city, although that ultimate goal is still several years away.

If granted, the loans for the sewer works will exceed $3.57 million, while the water main works are worth more than $1.2 million. If granted, Clennan told the board, the 20-year loans would be 2%, or about 60% of the current market rate. Revenues from the water and sewer system would pay for the loans.

“The other reason is that the water pipe project might get a partial principal forgiveness if there is money left over, but all the projects are graded so we don’t know if we would be eligible for a waiver. surrender,” he said.

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Lift station improvements

During a public hearing on the loan applications, Clennan provided details on the individual systems and their challenges and a broader overview of the systems.

The city owns and operates 33 lift stations on its sanitary sewer collection system. Sewage systems generally use gravity flow, but because Hutchinson is so flat, there are places where sewage must be mechanically lifted to a higher elevation to create flow.

Since their initial construction, the city has already converted 28 wells from wet well-mounted lift stations to non-clogging submersible type pumps.

Improvements include new bypass connections, manual transfer switches to run a portable generator, and wet well cleaning systems to control grease.

“The failure of a lift station could result in a significant backup of residences or businesses,” Clennan said. “It’s really a critical piece of infrastructure for the community to function properly.”

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Replaced lift stations include:

  • 19th Terrace, a system installed in 1987 that pumps 200 gallons per minute (gpm);
  • Seventh Avenue and Porter Street, also built in 1987 and 200 GPM. This station “sees a lot of grease, oil and grease,” Clennan said, so work will include installing equipment to remove or disperse the grease as well as building a new bypass connection to the system. city ​​sanitary sewer.
  • In the city industrial park at 11th and GBI drainage. Installed the same year, it has 250 gpm pumps. A problem here, Clennan said, is that other improvements in the area since its installation have created flooding issues for the site, so the project will include drainage management.
  • A lift station in Regency Park built in 2004 with a capacity of 250 gpm, but it is not adequately sized for the location, Clennan said. “A lot of times both pumps have to pump,” he said. “Ideally one pump would manage the flow and the pumps would alternate, so if one needed fixing we would always have the ability to pump and not back out. So we look at the size and capacity of the pump on this site. »
  • The last station is off Shears and Wiby Dyke, southeast of First Avenue and Whiteside Road, and west of Cow Creek. He runs most of the west side of Hutchinson, Clennan said. “This station was built in 1977, with a capacity of 1,250 gpm,” Clennan said. “It treats 30% of our total wastewater sent to the treatment plant. One of the biggest problems we have is that maintenance personnel have to go down into the dry well every two weeks to perform maintenance. It’s 30 feet down. Although there is an elevator, the upgrades would eliminate the dry well and improve staff safety, Clennan said. This is the most expensive project, estimated at over $800,000 alone.

Wastewater treatment plant project

A separate sewage system project sits at the head of the city’s sewage treatment plant, where equipment settles and removes sand from the sewage before it passes through the system, extending the life of equipment life and making the plant more efficient. Downstream sand buildup could also lead to ammonia buildup, violating the city’s operating permits, Clennan said.

The system, installed in the 1980s, includes diffusers that release bubbles into the wastewater, which helps break down the sand. What settles at the bottom is sucked into a “cyclone pump”, which spins it around and separates it further. They spread the resulting slurry on the fields and transport the sand to the landfill.

All of this equipment and some pipes will be replaced at an estimated cost of $820,000. The plant is designed to handle 8.3 million gallons per day, but averages 4 to 5 million gallons, Clennan said, so there’s still room to grow.

This city chart shows the percentage of cast iron water mains installed in Hutchinon in a given year with the gray shapes, and the percentage of water main breaks in that pipe age using the bar graph.  It indicates that pipes installed in the 1950s account for less than 13% of total pipes, but more than 30% of pipe breaks, with pipes installed between 1940 and 1960 accounting for more than half of all breaks in the past five years. last years.  Director of Public Works Brian Clennan said he understood steel was cheaper during this time because quality steel was dedicated to the war effort.

Southeast Side Waterline Improvements

On the waterline side, the city wants to replace 1.3 miles of six-inch cast-iron pipes, mostly in the neighborhoods between K-61 and Town Street and First and Ninth Avenues.

The city needs to replace 3.3 miles per year, Clennan said, which is about 1% of the line’s total, but will increase over the next four years as funds accrue through fare increases approved by the board earlier this year.

Data Clennan shared with the council showed that about 5% of the city’s more than 300 miles of water pipes were laid from 1900 to 1909. This pipe accounts for about 8% of all water main breaks in the city. ‘water.

However, pipes installed in the 1950s and 1960s, about 28% of the city’s total water pipes, account for 47% of all breaks.

“I heard that all the good steel was used for building reservoirs in the 1940s, so the cast iron that fed the water pipes wasn’t as good,” Clennan explained.

Some 62% of the city’s water pipe system is iron pipe, but it accounts for 94% of breaks. Also, based on size, a 6 inch pipe is 38% of the piping, but accounts for 80% of the breaks.

All of the pipes the project will replace were installed between 1938 and 1968, Clennan said. A PVC pipe will replace it.

In addition to approving resolutions allowing staff to submit applications to the Kansas Water Supply and Kansas Water Pollution Control Revolving Funds, the board on Tuesday approved a preliminary design agreement with Burns and McDonell of Wichita for $136,974.

The company was the only one of five invited to submit a proposal, Clennan said, but it “was very thorough and they did several projects at the sewage treatment plant.”

City staff suggest using a design-build process to shorten the construction time frame by at least six months, rather than a design-bid-build format, but will revert to council after the completion of the design to finalize the process.

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