City Council is closer to decision on drainage and sewer plans

Friday, May 7, 2021

Amanda Goodenow, civil engineer in public works at ISG, presented a proposal to the Alta City Council at the May 3rd meeting. ISG plans to provide engineering services for replacement and repair of drainage and sewer lines. In January, she presented a similar proposal.

Some of the system is structurally deficient due to aging and storm water seeping into the pipes, and lining and grouting the pipes is a priority. The sewer and drainage issues are connected and have been a problem due to storm sewer backups during rain events.

Once the project is approved, construction is estimated to begin in 2022 if deadlines are met. The first deadline to DNR is a preliminary report due June 1st.

The Council has three primary options to consider, but the following plan is recommended from ISG: From option 1, spot repairs and system linings; from option 2, sanitary service grouting; and from option 3, eliminating the storm and sanitary crossover connections. “The storm and sanitary is not directly connected, but the sanitary services on 9th Street go through the middle of the storm pipe, and if those services’ pipes leak, then a potential for cross-contamination exists,” Goodenow said.

If the Council votes in favor of ISG’s recommendations, the cost would be $1.65 million; however, they could choose another option.

Goodenow has worked with Alta Street Dept. supervisor Brad Pedersen to look at improvements needed in the sewer system by televising over 13,000 feet of sewer and viewing older footage. They analyzed about half of Alta’s sanitary sewage system and examined the pipes. In some places they found substantial cracks in the sewer which could fail and collapse and would need to be dug up, Goodenow said.

Some reasons storm water is seeping in has to do with aging pipes, the water table and cutting down of ash trees. “You guys have lost a lot of mature trees throughout town due to the ash borer. That’s significant because those mature trees take up a lot of water, and without those trees, you’re going to see a little more runoff in your storm water system,” Goodenow said, which also affects water quality.

She outlined ways the City can pay for a portion of the project which includes loans, grants, bonds and American Rescue Plan funds.

Goodenow said the City could take a “bare bones” approach to the project, but Council Members Willie Lang and Pam Henderson are opposed to that saying the city needs more because the sewer system is just going to get worse.

Mayor Kevin Walsh said, “The Council should strongly consider all three options and not pass it on to the next Council 2 years down the road.”

The Council tabled the matter and will make a decision at a special meeting on May 19th at 6:00 p.m. There is a June 1st deadline for a preliminary report to DNR outlining the city’s plan.

In other city council news -

RAGBRAI bicyclists will come through Alta on Sun. July 25th, and a committee has been meeting twice per month to discuss food vendors, entertainment, emergency weather plans, utilities and other details. The theme decided upon is “Ride the Ridge.” More volunteers are welcome and needed, and the next meeting will be Wed. May 12th, 4:30 p.m. at the Alta Community Center.

Some residents have been disposing of trees and brush at the city dump site which is prohibited. The Council agreed that for now, residents must hire help for disposal.

The Park Board has hired a concession stand manager and ball director. A pool manager and umpires are still needed.