With projections that the pumping station will be operational by mid-October, Governor Francis Farms residents who have put up with construction crews for the last 18 months will be able to connect to the sewer system by mid-December.
Even better, the repaving of streets – with the exception of Phase II paving that includes Squantum Drive – could start this week.
That was the nub of one of four reports on major sewer projects heard by the Warwick Sewer Authority board Thursday evening.
In addition, the board heard:
l That $7 million in revenue bond financing is progressing for a number of infrastructure improvements, the largest of which is the relining of the Airport and Oakland Beach interceptors that are deteriorating and could collapse as sections of pipes on Cedar Swamp Road and Sandy Lane did last year.
l The design of Bayside sewers is completed and the authority is prepared to seek bids with hopes that construction to bring sewers to 937 homes could start next spring.
l That the O’Donnell Hill project nearing completion is under budget but assessments are looking to be higher than projected because the number of homes benefiting from the sewers and sharing in the cost is down from the original count.
Charles Lombardi, of CWL O&M Solutions and project manager for Gov. Francis III, said the slab for the pumping station on Lansdowne Road is in place, and once the wet well is finished the pump should be delivered by mid-October with tests being completed by the end of the month. He said the plan calls for connections starting Dec. 15.
Repaving neighborhood roads, assuming the contractor can pin down a schedule with Cardi Construction, would start this week with the first of two phases of work. While Squantum Drive is a major thoroughfare, it would be one of the lasts streets done so as to save it from the heavy truck traffic for the pump.
Lombardi put construction costs of Governor Francis sewers at $5,353,200 and design and administrative costs at $625,600 for a total of $5,978,800. Based on 270 service connections, assessments, which could be paid off over 20 years, would therefore be $22,143.
“We’re not throwing in the towel or dragging our feet,” authority interim director Earl Bond said introducing his report on the Bayside sewer project that Riverview, Highland Beach, Longmeadow and Bayside residents were first promised more than 20 years ago. The lack of funding and the widespread presence of Native American artifacts including burial sites have delayed and complicated the project. The project is now designed for directional drilling, which would be the first use of the technology for Warwick sewers. The drilling is done between open pits so that pipes can be inserted without disturbing the artifacts above.
Bond said system design plans are completed and the next step is a certificate of approval from the Department of Environmental Management.
“Everything is falling into place,” he said.
Board member Carlo Pisaturo inquired whether DEM would extend its waiver requiring homeowners within 200 feet of a body of water to be on an approved septic system or to have tied into sewers by 2016. The waiver was extended to the end of this year. A majority of the homes within the Bayside project have cesspools and many of those are on the shores of Narragansett Bay.
O’Donnell Hill represents another challenge.
Lombardi said construction has slowed as the contractor encountered a 150-foot section of ledge. This could delay completion so that the authority can’t meet its April deadline to invoice assessments (it would need to wait until October 2020), meaning it wouldn’t have that stream income to pay the principal and interest on bonds funding the project.
Troubling to the board is that the initial estimate of 105 houses to be serviced was reduced to 96 and has been cut to 93 with the discovery that although they are in Warwick, these properties are serviced by West Warwick sewers. The O’Donnell Hill project will tie into West Warwick sewers, meaning operational fees will be paid to West Warwick. Assessment payments are due to Warwick.
Because fewer homes will get sewers, the preliminary assessment estimates of $17,500 to $20,300 will actually come in at about $22,000.
John Justo, board member who chairs the finance committee, asked for a full review of the process so as to more accurately project assessments once construction has started on a project and costs have presumably been nailed down. On an unrelated matter, Justo reported the finance committee is working on a five-year budget analysis that he expected would be completed by the October board meeting.
O’Donnell Hill neighborhood roads were also of concern. Board member Gary Marino observed residents can’t get in or out of the neighborhood without driving on dirt. He suggested O’Donnell Hill would be a perfect candidate for the city’s repaving program, which if it was to happen would reduce assessments as repaving represents a chunk of sewer construction costs.
In closing the meeting, board chairman Gary Jarvis said he is pleased with approval of an increase in pre-treatment fess for industrial users – reportedly the first increase in about 20 years – as it will generate increased revenues (about $140,000 a year) for this phase of operations and progress on a five-year budget plan.
He cited Bayside as the priority.
“Bayside is number one on the table,” he said.