Keeping Up With Aging Infrastructure

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The Problem Beneath The Streets

Keeping Up With Aging Infrastructure

As we all know, nothing lasts forever. Infrastructure will continue to age and deteriorate with each passing year. BMMD water and sewer infrastructure is over fifty years old and has reached the end of useful life in large parts of our community. Emergency water main breaks have become more frequent, especially in winter causing Wildernest residents to experience the effects of temporary emergency water outages and the unpleasant feeling of turning on the tap to find that water service does not exist. 

BMMD is actively addressing the issue by planning and executing improvement projects to the water, sewer, and roads throughout Wildernest.  However, additional improvements are needed to ensure another fifty years of functionality and beyond.  Outlined below are details about BMMD’s current projects, future projects, and the absolute need to start the planning for system wide water pipeline replacement. This list does not include the regular on-going daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance activities.

2020 Projects

· Construction continues on the new 250,000-gallon water tank #2B and pump station including new underground water main piping to connect the new tank to the existing water distribution system along Ryan Gulch Road. BMMD discovered unknown corrosive existing pipeline and added new pipe work to the scope of the project. The project is scheduled to be on-line by the end of 2020.

· Replacement of approximately 2035 linear feet of 8" sewer main pipe, 7 manhole removal and replacements, 8 existing sewer service reconnections, dewatering, sewer by-pass, erosion control, and wetland restoration. 

· Construction continues on the second of four planned underground vault pressure zone valve connections by changing from a manual system to automatic. This upgrade eliminates reliance on a manually operated system to allow water from an upper water storage tank to automatically flow to a lower water storage tank during fire flow events.

· Cleaned and vacuumed out 150 main shut-off valve boxes located 9’ below ground. Quite often shut-off valve boxes fill up with dirt, sand or debris which prohibits a water key from shutting off water in emergency events.

· BMMD will repair and replace four broken water main valves near the corner of Ryan Gulch Road and Upper Lodge Pole Circle in mid-September. This project will require a brief water shut-down. Affected residents will be notified in advance.

· Construction of a new stormwater drainage improvement project at the top of Ryan Gulch Road loop starting in mid-September to include underground culvert, retention pond, curb and gutter.

· System wide leak detection using “Acoustic Correlating Logger” technology. This process uses a correlating logger at each end of a water line (points A & B) from a building, shut-off valve or hydrant which allows a tech to listen for audible evidence of a leak in an attempt to pinpoint the location.

· Geographic information system (GIS) mapping actively continues to keep track of what infrastructure needs to be replaced and when. BMMD is recording all of its infrastructure locations, material type/size and when it was installed. Critical details including main breaks, soil conditions, and pressure records will help identify and track trends for long range planning.  Technicians also continue to work inputting annual inspection and maintenance records.

2021 Planned Projects

· Design and engineer replacement of existing Tank #3.  This is the last steel water storage tank in the distribution system. It is planned to have the tank removed and replaced at the existing site.  Construction could start in 2022 or early 2023.

· Construction of the third underground vault pressure zone valve connection.

· Design and engineer the fourth and final underground vault pressure zone valve connection.

 · Camera and Clean entire sewer system

· Additional road drainage upgrades

· Pipeline Replacement Planning

Pipeline Replacement Planning

The time has come to start planning system wide drinking water pipeline replacement. Underground infrastructure is difficult to monitor and repair.  Emergency main breaks are becoming more prevalent and the repair costs are skyrocketing.  Replacing the existing pipeline with new improved pipe materials will ensure a long-lasting product now and well into the future. Our environment in the high country only allows a short window of time to work outdoors making this project a large undertaking that will involve strategic planning and construction over many years. 

Funding

BMMD’s funding knowledge has allowed us to secure low-interest loans for the existing new Tank #2B project through the Colorado State Drinking Water Revolving Fund and Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  This funding helped to reduce the costs that the local public would incur if this project was bonded conventionally.  We will continue to pursue this path of funding to keep on track with needed infrastructure replacement.  BMMD is meeting with consultants and researching the best method to move forward. While state and federal funding can help support improvement initiatives, they won’t cover everything.  The District will continue raising water and sewer service rates incrementally on an annual basis. 

2021 Rate Increase

Over the past several years the District has increased water/sewer rates by an average of 3%. Small annual increases cover rising operating, maintenance, fuel, equipment and cost of living increases. Even with the increases, BMMD rates are comparable to, or lower than, neighboring municipalities.  BMMD will hold a public meeting on October 20, 2020, 5:00 p.m. at the District office to hear any comments or concerns about the rate increase.

Thank You

BMMD would like to sincerely thank the residents of Wildernest for caring about your community and helping the District protect the water/sewer/road system that services your valuable resource – home.  BMMD continues to plan for the future and make improvements to the system but a lot more work is required.