Helper City Mayor Dean Armstrong led a special meeting yesterday in front of a packed house regarding the city’s five-year plan on improving sewer and water conditions.
He spoke for about 20 minutes before dismissing the congregation to view posters that had been placed around the room with detailed information on the projects’ current state and progression.
Armstrong, the city council and not to mention countless others have been working very hard the past year looking at the problems that need to be addressed throughout the city.
“We’ve spent the last year basically evaluating the system, assessing its condition and reviewing the previous work that has been done including the engineering evaluations that go back to the mid 1980’s,” the mayor said. “It’s been a compilation of a lot of background data, reviewing a lot of old photos and video tapes of pipelines and other repair projects and putting that together. Then creating the capitalВ facilitiesВ master plan document that really outlines those civic factors, the current condition and the need.”
Armstrong said, though, there is an order in which they are planning on getting everything approved and finished.
“The first of those projects is the rehabilitation of our water supply,” he said. “And in some streams that project is under way. That is a little over a million dollars and that one is already funded.”
The Mayor continued to explain the project as a whole and that the bigger infrastructure project includes parts of the water collection system and a few other systems as well, and that spinoff projects include improved storm water management and repavement of over twenty miles of city streets.
“That, in a nutshell, is where we really are,” he said. “It’s getting done by design and overseen and managed by professional engineers.”
Armstrong then estimated a timeline for completion as “best case scenario….in about three years.” The city council has dedicated its time to making sure all projects are completed within five years with an estimated price tag of $20 million.
But not all the money can be secured from grants or government assistance. In result, residents of Helper will see an increase in their sewer and water rates in the future. How much the increase will be has yet to be determined.
Curtis Ludvigson, a Management Technician with the Rural Water Association of Utah explained where potential money could come from for the projects.
“They’re in the process of applying for money, and basically, all of the funding they can seize from the Rural Developement, the Division of Water Quality, the Division of Drinking Water and the Impact Board,” he said. “I guess they’ll see what funding packages they can get to best take care of what they need to do.”
Ludvigson said repairs desperately needed to be done and that Helper City is doing as well as can be expected with such an outdated system.
“The infrastructure of both the water and sewer systems are so old and worn out that basically needs to be replaced all through the town,” he said. ” It’s just been neglected as far as major upgrades throughout the years. Not to say they haven’t done a good job, the public works crew I know has done a real good job at patching things back together but the systems need to be totally replaced.”
Ludvigson went on to say that the health of the water wasn’t an issue currently, but could have been had the mayor and city council not decided to act as they did.
Helper City plans to move forward with its plans and will give updates in the future on the progress of the various projects.