Another City Deals With Sewer Separation

City gets report for Phase 2 of the sewer separation project. The engineer credits the Plattsmouth city staff’s efforts in determining more of the “project scope and associated cost reduction.”

Phase 2 will separate the sanitary sewer from the storm sewer in the Chicago Avenue and Washington Avenue corridors. The work connects to where Phase 1 left off at 6th and 1st Avenue to the south and 6th and Avenue A to the north.

The project involves the complete reconstruction of 1st Avenue from 6th Street to 7th Street, and of Avenue A from 6th to 7th, said Chris Koenig of HDR engineering. The remainder of the project will then involve just limited areas of work. He said current plans are for the construction along Chicago Avenue to happen first so that traffic interruptions at West 8th Avenue will be over before school starts this fall. After the advertising and bidding stages, work is expected to begin in June.

The last time the city council received an engineer’s estimate on Phase 2 the total was over $2.6 million. That estimate is now at $1.78 million which includes $69,000 for extending a water main.

More is now known about the sewer systems in the two corridors because the city public works staff “crawled around in the sewers to find out where the laterals are,” work that the contractor will not have to do now, said Koenig. He said the city’s advance work helped “tremendously” in lowering the estimated construction total.

Also helping the fiscal aspect of Phase 2 are low interest rates and a possible forgiveness of up to $250,000 principal of the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Revolving Fund loan.

If the revised figures hold up, City Administrator Erv Portis said annual payments could be about $44,000 a year less than originally projected. In a few months, the city council could then decide what it wants to do about the $5.75 monthly Phase 2 debt service fee now being collected from city utility customers. Options that could be considered, Portis said, include keeping the fee as is and paying extra on the loan principal annually; keeping the fee as is and paying off the loan early with a large lump sum; or revising the monthly debt service fee.

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