Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Planning refined for North Havre sewer repairs


Map by Caleb Hutchins

Three areas of concerns with North Havre sewer systems are the lift station in RSID 11 that pumps water through a force main across the Milk River, and that force main, which erosion has exposed. The force main for RSID 21 also has become exposed on one side of the river.

Planning for repairing problems in sewer systems in North Havre is coming to the final stages, with a public meeting to discuss a draft engineering report being set for the near future.

Craig Pozega of Great West Engineering, who is preparing the report, returned to Havre Thursday to present additional information requested at a meeting in April.

"I left here (to do) some homework for you guys, and so I did some of that homework, " he said.

Two special improvement districts in North Havre have problems that need to be addressed, with the most pressing being exposed pipes used to pump sewage across the Milk River en route to the Havre sewage treatment plant. The other issue is how to upgrade a lift station for Rural Special Improvement District 11 used to pump the sewage through one of the mains.

Work on two districts

The districts in question are Hill County RSID 11, north of the Milk River from about 10th Avenue North to where the Wild Horse Road splits off from River Road, and RSID 21, north and east of RSID 11.

The cost of the service now is assessed on the property taxes of the residents. The annual charge, averaged out per hookup and on a monthly basis, is $30.53 a month for RSID 11 and $37.39 for RSID 21.

One of the main topics at Thursday's meeting was how to approach finding funding. Pozega said grant programs are available, but in order to receive the grants the area would have to create a sewer district to administer the funds.

Pozega said Thursday that, based on costs of districts of a similar size, it would cost about $8,800 to operate the district. That would be in addition to operations and maintenance of the sewer systems themselves, and to pay for any loans used in the project.

With that factored in, the cost of a grant-funded project, in a best-case scenario, would be about the same, or slightly higher, than having the county maintain control of the system and take out a loan.

That led several at the meeting to say that, with opposition raised in North Havre in the past to creating entities like a water district, trying to create a new district doesn't seem worth the effort.

Others, however, said moving forward with creating a new sewer district owned and operated by the North Havre residents themselves seems like the best option.

Pozega said that the average monthly cost per hookup if the sewer district were formed would be about $48 in RSID 11 if only a loan were used. If grants are used, depending on what grants could be obtained, the cost per hookup per month would run from about $37 to $41 a month.

For RSID 21, the cost with a full loan would be about $72.78 a month, with the costs with grants ranging from about $54 to $60.

If the county were able to apply for money from the State Revolving Loan Fund soon, the costs could go down. The state plans to use money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to grant loan forgiveness — 30 percent of the loan granted.

If the control were left to the county and a loan were used, Pozega said, the average cost per hookup in RSID 11 would be a little less than $38 a month, or slightly more than $33 a month if the 30-percent loan forgiveness could be accessed.

For RSID 21, the average cost per month would be a little more than $57 a month or just under $50 a month with loan forgiveness.

Armoring the pipes

At the April meeting, he said the two options in replacing the mains he was recommending were using directional drilling, where a hole is drilled under the river and a pipe pulled back through the hole, or using a process called jack and bore.

That procedure uses digging a pit, then ramming a sheathe through the soil and inserting a pipe through the sheath.

North Havre residents in the April meeting said they would like to know more about another option, armoring the existing main to prevent its being damaged.

Pozega said that due to federal agencies opposing granting permits for work done in the riverbed itself, that does not appear to be a viable option. Pozega said he computed the costs of armoring the mains outside of the streambed itself.

The cost of that option was nearly as much as the capital cost of using directional boring, with less protection, he said.

Next steps

Some more research has to be done before the final draft can be prepared and presented in a public meeting.

One of the issues to be researched is whether the county could proceed with the RSIDs now in place, or would have to create a new improvement district to implement the changes.

Hill County Commissioner Kathy Bessette said the commission will have the county attorney research that and other issues to have answers before the public meeting is advertised and held.


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