Jeremy Connor of Hurst-Rosche Engineering hosted a public hearing Thursday evening, July 15, for residents of Helston Place, the site for upcoming sewer work. Fourteen residents live on Helston; three (Russell Greenwood, Eric Roach, and Jim May) attended. May and Roach received their written notification of the meeting the day it was held, even though the packets were postmarked July 6. Also attending were the city’s utility commissioner Kendra Wright and Mayor Don Downs.
Connor explained the replacement of the two mains (one for waste water and one for storm water -- they have to be separated because of state and perhaps federal regulations. The first step will be removal of trees and underbrush in the construction zone; the second will be bringing at least 2,000 cubic yards of fill to the site to improve the degree of slope. The current system will be utilized until the new system is installed and connected; the old system thus will not be removed as the new system will be over it. The fill will raise the ravine to improve the slope, from 10 to 22 feet. Two, perhaps three drains (storm water inlets) will be installed, with due diligence paid to controlling the flow velocity.
The residents present had questions, some of which could affect the entire city. In at least two instances, two houses are served by one tap-on for waste water. That is prohibited by current city code (a city code didn’t exist back in the day when the system was installed). Mayor Downs promised, “We’ll follow code; every home will have its own tap-on.”
Residents then asked whose financial responsibility the new tap-ons will be. The city hopes to use grant money for the overall system, but by code the homeowner is responsible for plumbing from his/her home to the main. The answer is yet to be determined. Perhaps a grant will cure the mentioned dilema, but perhaps not. Connor said the limits will be defined in the final documentation.
Another problem the attendees mentioned in the cooporative-in-nature meeting was the location of the current waste-water mains along the street and between the buildings themselves. Greenwood said his house has been there since 1903, and some residences have been there as long or longer. It’s possible garages, even other houses, were built over the sewer mains. Each resident in attendance talked about problems the current system has caused him; they are grateful that the situations will be addressed.
The area last saw serious infrastructure work in 1933, but as far back as 1976 complaints had be lodged to raise awareness. Connor said the study they had in their hands was about 30% of the planning work and that the hearing for local input was a necessary step. He appreciated the attendees’ input. More detailed plans will come in the future. The meeting ended at 7:40 p.m.