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CB will wait to increase W&S fees

Numbered street repairs still on schedule
Gary Seeber, Chairman of the Public Works Committee, reported to the Town Council at Thursday’s meeting that extra water and sewer infrastructure projects would have to wait. Particularly, moving water pipes.

Colonial Beach was issued a consent order by the DEQ signed on April 5, 2007 to reduce I and I and others issues related to the entire water and sewer system.

I and I is the amount of inflow and infiltration of rainwater that enters the sewer system, either by storm drains or leaks in the pipes during heavy rain. At present Colonial Beach wastewater treatment plant spends an estimated $450,000 annually treating rainwater due to I and I.

Because of this consent order the town is mandated to finish certain projects first.

Town Manager Val Foulds reported that Colonial Beach has a bond issued from 1993 that will mature in March of

2014 and a another bond that will mature in 2017.

Seeber feels that by waiting until the first bond is paid off it will free up an extra $400,000 to spend towards water and sewer projects needed that are not in the mandate, thereby reducing the amount that water and sewer fees will need to be raised.

Seeber said at last weeks meeting, “We had talked about doing a rate increase this past January, which because we’re going through delays with the state and everything for the mandated stuff, we have deferred. This year the water and sewer fund will actually run in the red, however we do have, according to the audit report, significant funds in the bank to cover that. So we can plan exactly where we need to be before we actually do increase the water and sewer rates.”

Seeber continued, “If we defer the optional things we wanted to do last fall for another year, by the time the loan would need to be in place, we would have that $400,000 to cover the cost of that. So by delaying a little bit we will not have to increase the water and sewer rate as significantly as we need to anyway just to cover operation.”

Numbered street repairs still on schedule
Last year during a mapping of the town’s infrastructure with cameras, public works discovered cracks, leaks and even a collapse on 4th Street necessitating emergency repairs.

According to Foulds, original records of the town’s infrastructure were either lost or destroyed in the 1950s. So the first order of business was to remap the existing pipes. In order to accomplish this the town had to hire a company to blow out sand and other debris that had settled within the pipes. Once cleaning was completed, cameras were run throughout pipes in the areas of most concern. Damage on the numbered streets from 3rd to 12th warranted this area as a good starting point. Cameras revealed leaks, collapses and in some sections, missing pipes.

After a temporary patch, Trinity Building Company was awarded the contract to repair the collapse on 4th Street at an estimated cost of $32,155. Repairs were covered by loan and grant money provided by the United State Rural Development Authority.

After the mapping revealed extensive damage, the town estimated the numbered street project would cost over three million dollars. Partial funding for the project was obtained through a 1 million dollar loan and a ½ a million dollars in grants approved from United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Department.

In a January memo from Foulds to the town council updating the progress of Phase III of the project, which she said is still on track, Foulds stated that the town discovered over 2,300 linear feet of waterlines running over existing sewer lines, making rehabilitation of sewer pipes impossible without damaging waterlines.

Foulds assured that no there is no danger of contamination during existing repairs.

The town is currently seeking extra funding from Rural Development (the lenders) to cover the cost of replacement and relocation of the waterlines to permanently eliminate these conflicts, which are problematic when maintenance and repairs are required.

The town must also make assurance to the USDA that they are serious about getting the resources to address multiple problems in this case.

In the memo Foulds assured the council that “At this time we are not making a commitment to accept any loans or debt,” adding, “Any approval and acceptance of funding is still a long way off and can only occur after a duly advertised public hearing and a resolution adopted by the town council.”

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