FL will do major lift station repairs this summer

Jennifer Mevissen
Staff Writer

The city of Forest Lake is proceeding with a significant maintenance project to the sanitary sewer system this year.

The capital improvement plan has identified a budget of $750,000 in 2012 for repairs to a handful of lift stations. Out of the seven bids that were submitted, Penn Contracting, Inc. was the lowest with $591,483. At a Feb. 27 meeting, the Forest Lake City Council awarded the total base bid amount.

Project costs incurred to date are approximately $62,000. The newly hired engineering technician will be utilized to perform daily construction inspections which will be a considerable cost-savings.

City Engineer Ryan Goodman said lift stations were selected due to continual repairs.

“Those are the most problematic,” he said in an interview this week. “They have a historic maintenance log.”

Four generator alternates were added to the project, increasing the costs by $224,200. He said the prices were obtained as requested by city staff.

The sanitary sewer repairs will be funded by a bond sale, which Goodman recommended the total be raised to $810,000.

Councilwoman Susan Young supported increasing the bonding amount and adding the stationary, natural gas generators to the project.

“If there are opportunities to better protect our citizens at a reasonable cost, perhaps this is the time to do it,” she said.

Councilman Michael Freer said that while this is probably one of those things the city needs to spend more money on, he questioned at what point do you say no.

Young noted that water and sewer consumers have come to depend on Forest Lake for service and the city has an obligation to provide it, realizing, she said, that “sometimes it stinks to be us.”

Construction will last about two months and begin in early April. Three lift stations are to be replaced; 1C (919 SE 11th Avenue), 9T (9039 North Shore Trail) and 10T (22041 Jason Avenue N.). A new generator will be installed in 8T (22414 Ivan Court N.) as it was rebuilt around 20 years ago.

The city council is expected to take action on the bond sale during their regular meeting Monday, March 12 at 7 p.m.

Emergency Repair

Goodman told the council about an emergency repair that must be made to the watermain line located just south of the Broadway Avenue bridge crossing under I-35. It was not identified to be replaced as part of Washington County’s improvement project in Forest Lake since there was no history of problems occurring in that area. After testing, it was determined the watermain line was not able to hold pressure and was leaking.

Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the existing bolts holding the connections together were corroded.

“This is a problem nationwide,” said Mike Tate, public works director.

Goodman said that lining watermain pipe is much different than sanitary sewer as it is highly specialized, which is why a higher cost per foot is associated with the work. He estimated the total costs to be about $250,000.

The city council authorized the preparation of plans and specifications. The item will be on Monday’s meeting agenda.