By BILL SHEA
Engineers are recommending $25 million worth of work on the sanitary sewer system in Fort Dodge that would be paid for with a series of rate increases that would boost the typical monthly bill for a homeowner to about $37.
However, those projects will only begin to address an estimated $80 million worth of needed improvements.
''We know we have failing sanitary sewer infrastructure,'' Derick Anderson, the regional manager of McClure Engineering Co. in Fort Dodge, told the City Council Monday.
Anderson explained the results of a multi-year assessment conducted by his firm, called the sanitary sewer evaluation study, during a council workshop.
The $79.9 million worth of needed improvements include repairs to sewers that are in imminent danger of failure, hydraulic upgrades throughout the system, improving lift stations and creating more capacity at the wastewater treatment plant for storing the large amounts of water that enter it during a storm.
Since it's impossible to do all the needed work in one year, Anderson recommended starting with $25 million worth of projects.
The list of projects includes replacing the main lift station along Avenue B ($6.1 million), upgrading the sewer line at 13th Street and 15th Avenue South ($5.2 million), upgrading the sewer line under South 17th Street near the Union Pacific Railroad tracks ($5.2 million), improving the lift station on South 32nd Street ($4.4 million), sewer improvements at 10th Avenue North and 24th Street ($3.5 million), fixing urgent problems ($400,000) and performing various rehabilitation projects ($200,000).
To finance that work, Anderson recommended three annual $5 rate increases.
The typical monthly sewer bill for a residence is now $22.21.
The council took no action on the proposed projects or the potential rate increase. The individual projects and the rate increase will be presented to the council for action at a later date.
A couple of significant sanitary sewer projects are underway in the city and another will start shortly.
Crews from Wicks Construction, of Decorah, are installing new water mains and sanitary sewers along Sixth Avenue South and 19th Street. That same company is installing new sewer mains as part of the reconstruction of First Avenue North between Third and Seventh streets.
New sanitary sewers will be installed beneath 10th Avenue North between 15th and 18th streets.