City engineers are mapping out Westminster’s northernmost network of sewer lines and should be ready to report back on potential improvements in 2019. Westminster Senior Engineer Kent Brugler said …
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City engineers are mapping out Westminster’s northernmost network of sewer lines and should be ready to report back on potential improvements in 2019.
Westminster Senior Engineer Kent Brugler said crew are surveying the Big Dry Creek valley’s sewer lines, looking for choke points that could lead to potential overflows.
“There’s a concern that there is a high potential of a sanitary sewer overflow out of a manhole,” Brugler said. “We were concerned about the capacity of certain sections of the pipe because the development that has really accelerated over the last five, ten years — more than we expected.”
So far, the city has surveyed 22 miles of sewer pipe covering 530 manholes to get accurate elevations and have mapped them to create a better computerized hydraulic model of how the pipes flow and where potential bottlenecks are.
City Councilors approved a development moratorium on the area in July. The moratorium covers the bulk of the city from 92nd Avenue north to 136th. The portion of Westminster west of Wadsworth boulevard, including portions as far south as 87th Drive, would be included, as well. A portion of the city east of Huron is not included in the moratorium.
The plan is to hire an outside term to study the system and design an upgrade plan. The study should take nine months to complete, which would make it finished this spring.
“We are just in that preliminary results phase, and that will lead into telling us exactly how much pipe needs to be replaced and where and all that,” Brugler said. “There will be discussions probably earlier next year about the moratorium and what impact this new information has on development information. Whether we need to come up with some interim modifications or something else, it’s just at the technical team level to determine where we are what improvements might be needed.”
The moratorium is meant to give Westminster’s top municipal engineers and public utilities consultants time to figure out a way to fix a capacity problem on the 22-mile long sewer line.
It’s a result of a 40-year-old sewer system combined with growing development. The Big Dry Creek Interceptor Sewer was built in the 1970s and needs to replaced and repaired, according to 2012 study all Westminster’s sewer lines.
That showed the Dry Creek system to be in better shape than the city’s Little Dry Creek system that serves the older parts of the city, south of 92nd Avenue. The city has spent more than $26 million since then repair the Little Dry Creek system.
Plans before the moratorium called for delaying repairs of about $30 million until 2022 and 2023, but more recent studies said that would be too long. Sewage flows along the pipe, which serves the area between Standley Lake and the city’s treatment facility at 132nd and Huron, have increased almost by half since 2008.
Some improvements are already underway, Brugler said. Crews will begin lining four miles of concrete piplines, many dating to the 1980s.
“There are different generations of pipes in the city,” Brugler said. “In the 1970s, the original 30-inch pipe was installed and in the 1980s and 90s, we added a parallel four mile section of pipes. We are lining it with a fiberglass resin that restores the condition of the old pipes. They get pitted and cracks and water comes leaking in and the work to repair them will cost about $3 million.
“That will give us confidence that they’ll be able to handle higher flows, that they could be exposed to.”
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