Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Borough OKs $113K in sewer plant work

 


The Haines Borough is taking a step toward addressing its dilapidated wastewater treatment plant, beginning with designs for more than $4 million in improvements.

The assembly approved a $113,000 design Tuesday, which will be completed by the Juneau-based firm Carson Dorn, Inc.

Improvements outlined in the design will include replacing control panels, lighting, pumps, building siding, polymer mixers, screens and other equipment. It also includes installation of two new blowers for a sludge aeration system (to reduce sewage smell).

Mayor Stephanie Scott said she is glad the borough is taking steps to address the plant’s issues instead of waiting for legislative funding.

“The ball should have been rolling two years ago. We are behind the eight-ball as far as I’m concerned,” Scott said.

The wastewater treatment facility upgrades are the borough’s highest legislative priority for fiscal year 2015, though Scott said she isn’t getting her hopes up for legislative funding. “I don’t know if we’re going to get anything in our capital projects list,” she said.

Borough staff applied for a Department of Environmental Conservation municipal matching grant for the wastewater treatment plant upgrades last year, but the project narrowly missed being funded on the grant’s point system.

Public facilities director Carlos Jimenez said if the design is substantially complete by the grant’s August deadline this year, the borough should be in a good position to receive more points and therefore secure the grant.

“We should have a strong chance of receiving funding this year if we proceed in the direction we are heading,” Jimenez said.  

On March 10, the finance committee identified funds appropriated in earlier years for lower-priority projects that could be used to finance the design. This movement of funds will need to be approved by a future budget amendment ordinance.

The borough will also fund a portion of the design with currently available engineering funds.

According to Carson Dorn’s proposal, the firm anticipates providing the borough with a 65 percent design by June 1, and a 95 percent design by July 1.

The DEC grant, if secured, would fund up to 70 percent of the project cost and could reimburse the borough for cost of the design.

The borough is also applying for a DEC loan as a kind of back-up plan in case the grant falls through.

The $113,000 design fee represents about 4.2 percent of the estimated construction cost of the upgrades. 

 
 

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