Public hearing to be held on water rate increase

On Tuesday, July 9 a public hearing will take place to discuss a sewer rate increase for the citizens of Mountain View. “Guys, we need this,” urged Kent Pates with Horner & Shifrin, Inc. “We’re talking six and a half million dollars in this project.”
 
Horner & Shifrin, Inc. is currently looking for inflow and infiltration, or I&I, which is storm water getting into wastewater. “If it’s in your wastewater, then you have to pump it out,” explained Pates. Pates went on to explain that on the south end of town there are three lift stations. All the water gets pumped at the lift station. Some of the water gets pumped from one lift station to another lift station, and then another until it gets pumped up over the hill. There it runs downhill to the wastewater plant. “There you have to spend time, effort, and electricity on treatment.”
 
The goal of Horner & Shifrin is to try and eliminate most of the I&I. I&I is the process of groundwater, or water from sources other than domestic wastewater, entering sanitary sewers. There are pipes in the street, in the easements, and houses are attached to that. I&I gets into the system from that connection to the house. “A lot of roof drains get tied in when older homes were built. If you’ve got a basement and it leaks, then you probably have a sump pump in there that pumps into it. Either it pumps it outside or it goes into the sewer. That’s infiltration, that’s clean water that we do not want to treat at the wastewater plant,” explained Pates.
 
When there is a lot of I&I, sometimes the sewer is not big enough to handle that and it comes bubbling out of manholes. That is referred to as sanitary sewer overflow. “DNR does not appreciate that. They have to tell you that you cannot do that. We are trying to keep that from happening,” Pates expounded.
 
During a recent board of aldermen meeting, Pates explicated to the board the need for the rate increase.
 
“The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is forcing a certain amount of money to be in the account. DNR sends a spreadsheet, and we fill it out with all of your information including budgets, what size pumps, blower motors, transmissions, life expectancy over the next 15 to 20 years. That all goes into a spreadsheet, and they say, okay, you have to raise your rates enough to pay for that, because they are loaning you money over the next 20 years. DNR is going to make sure that you set a rate structure that will account for the bonds, pay for the loan, pay for what is needed to be done at the wastewater plant over the next 20 years. That’s how they base your rates.”
 
Pates added, “If you do not raise your rates and you do not have some money in the bank, I guarantee you in the next five to ten years, you will be spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars on your wastewater plant or out in your collection system.”
 
According to Pates there’s approximately 12,000 feet of pipes to be replaced. Clay pipe that is just “crumbling”. Those results came from the company that was in town running cameras through the sewers. The pipes in Mountain View were rated good, to bad, to worse. The worst ones will be taken care of first, then the project will move onto the bad ones, depending on how far the money goes. Currently the City of Mountain View has around six and a half million dollars to work on this project. According to Pates around five million dollars goes into repairs. 
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