Spring Lake Park council interested in pursuing sewer, street projects

The Spring Lake Park City Council has directed its city engineer to prepare plans, specifications and cost estimates for two major sewer and street repair projects.

City leaders approved three motions July 16 to set the sewer slip lining and pavement management plan planning process affecting three streets into motion.

Public Works Director Terry Randall and City Engineer Phil Gravel explained both projects. Randall said slip lining would add 30 to 50 years of life to city sewer pipes.

“The biggest reason for doing this is to stop any groundwater leaching or filtration into the sewer system,” Randall said.

According to Randall, the slip lining process is fairly simple.

Utility workers pull a replacement liner felt impregnated with epoxy resin through the existing pipes.

“Once they pull the liner, they plug it at both ends and fill it with steam. They hold it for four or five hours and the resin sets up within in the pipe,” Randall said.

Councilmember Barbara Carlson wanted to know how residents would be affected.

Residents in an area would be asked reduce water usage for four or five hours, Randall said.

“Most of the people are at work during the day anyway, so it doesn’t affect them,” Randall said.

The initial slip lining project in the city would involve the sewer main on Terrace Road from Osborne Road to 81st Avenue.

At the July 16 meeting Randall asked the council to add 1,200 feet to the first slip lining project motion.

“That way, we would have all of our main line done,” Randall said.

The council approved that request and a motion directing Gravel to complete a cost estimate for citywide sewer slip lining.

“We’ll take an area at a time,” Randall said. “It’s probably going to be over a 10-year span. We want to eliminate the joint leakage.”

Monroe Street is getting pretty rough and University Avenue service road curb is tipping right into the ditch. Arthur Street would benefit from surface milling and blacktop, Randall said.

City Administrator Barb Nelson said utility renewal and replacement fund dollars and assessments were potential funding sources.

According to Nelson, in a follow-up e-mail, the city’s utility renewal and replacement fund sets aside money for major repairs and replacement within the water and sanitary sewer system.

The fund had a balance of $1.78 million at the end of June, Nelson said.

The fund’s primary sources of revenue come from a percentage of collected utility rates and income that comes from antenna leases on the city’s water towers, she said.

According to Nelson, the slip lining would not be assessed because payment for that work would be taken from the utility renewal and replacement fund.

It’s too early to tell if the three street projects would be assessed, Nelson said.

Project scheduling dates and length of completion would affect the cost, she said.

“These are projects we have been talking about for some time,” Nelson said. “It was felt that we should stop talking and do something to move them forward.”

According to Gravel, many of the city’s sanitary sewer and water main lines are more than 50 years old.

Much of the sanitary sewer system was constructed of clay pipe, which can have a long design life, but the pipe joints joining the material can be problematic in some cases.

Gravel said last week in a follow-up e-mail that the city has completed regular maintenance of the sanitary sewer system by cleaning the lines and making spot repairs when necessary.

Additionally, the Spring Lake Park Public Works Department has coordinated an inspection and line televising program over the past several years to gather information about the sewer system, he said.

The slip lining should be fairly routine, Gravel said, because trenchless sewer repair has improved dramatically in the past 20 years.

“It’s possible Spring Lake Park will work with neighboring communities on cooperative sewer lining and other municipal infrastructure projects,” he said.

Columbia Heights, Mounds View, Blaine and Fridley would be likely project partners, Gravel said.

Traffic control and bypass sewer pumping while the lining occurs would be major construction issues.

Gravel said Monroe Street was last paved in 1981, the University Avenue Service road in 1997 and Arthur Street in 1987.

In 1997, Spring Lake Park completed a street resurfacing project for its northeast corner streets.

In 2002, the city began a major street rehabilitation process that included a three-year project to resurface many remaining residential streets.

In 2009, street reconstruction projects on Terrace Road and Able Street were completed.

The proposed street improvements for Monroe, the service road and Arthur will require some upfront planning to determine the extent of the necessary improvements, Gravel said.

“We know that there are some minor drainage concerns on Monroe and the service road,” he said.

The three roads will not all require the same level of reconstruction. Gravel said the three projects should be similar to past city street improvement projects.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]