Village May Televise Sewers to Prepare for Private Lateral Program

The village will pay roughly $175,000, for inspections, but homeowners will likely have to pay for laterals to be lined or replaced.

As the first big step in addressing leaky private sewer laterals, a village committee is recommending engineers start televising sewer lines in the flood-prone southeastern portion of the village with the goal of learning which laterals need to be lined or replaced.

The program recommended by the Private Property Inflow and Infiltration Committee Wednesday night includes visual inspection and/or dye testing where permission is granted, or where legal, to investigate suspected clear water connections to the sanitary sewer.

Village engineers suggested the committee consider beginning the televising project in the area roughly bordered by Glendale Avenue on the south, Hampton Road on the north, Oakland Avenue on the east and Ardmore Avenue on the west, but commissioners suggested engineers look at incorporating the entire "basin 3" area, which extends further westward to Santa Monica Boulevard and north to Henry Clay Street. The basin includes about 390 homes. The inspection could begin as soon as this summer.

Village Engineer Dan Naze said the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has prioritized improvements in that area because it was identified as poorly performing in the past. Additionally, the village conducted flow monitoring in this area last year, so this inspection would provide data on the effectiveness of tightening leaky laterals, as well as identify what volume of clear water can be identified as other sources of inflow and infiltration, including foundation drains.

READ: The PP/II Committee is also working on eliminating clear water from the sanitary sewer system by looking for downspouts that are directly connected into the ground and performing dye water testing.

Within the basin, there are some areas where no replacement or rehab work has been done, other areas where the main has been lined but no lateral work done and other areas where mains and laterals have been replaced in the right-of-way.

Village engineers originally estimated spending about $92,700 on the smaller 204-home project, but at the same $450-per-house rate, the new 390-home inspection project could come out to about $175,000. The village has roughly $180,000 in funds available from MMSD, and if that is depleted, the village expects to either pay for inspection through bonding or through a possible sewer utility district.

Once data is collected about leaks in the system, the village plans to front the money for lateral lining and replacement, and then assess the homeowner. The current village code does not allow the village to mandate complete lateral replacement, so an ordinance change would be required to implement any work plan for lateral lining or replacement.

The estimated cost to line or repair the leaky laterals in the area is roughly $6,100 per home, but village officials stress that number is very preliminary and no work plans have been bid out.

The commission's recommendation to move forward with the project is expected to be taken up at a Village Board meeting on Feb. 20.

Bob McBride February 04, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Early on there was mention of MMSD possibly providing funding to be used to assist homeowners with the replacement of laterals. If I remember correctly, our Village was noted as being one that had not actively attempted to participate in that program. Would be nice to know if we missed the boat on this, or if it's something that's still available.
Kevin Buckley February 04, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Bob - That's exactly the program referenced in the article. The MMSD program allocates funds for communities to address PPII issues, which could include lateral repair, replacement, televising, sumps, analysis, etc, etc. Anything that furthers the reduction of PPII. The Village hasn't "missed the boat" .. the funds simply accumulate until we launch a program like the one in the article. You may also note that MMSD gets their funds from you via sewer charges, and that this is a multi-million dollar issue.. WFB's share of this fund is ~$180k to date.
Bob McBride February 04, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I guess my question would be whether or not spending this money on "televising" sewers versus using it as relief for property owners who have to pay to have their laterals replaced or repaired is the best use of those funds. Personally, I'm not going to have too much of a problem if I have to pay to repair or replace my lateral, even if it does reach the $6100 (which seems a bit high based on what I've heard people have paid), but I live in an area with a lot of small homes, some of them owned by people who live on fixed incomes or who are not particularly well off. They may not be able to absorb a $6100 hit. In lieu of that, is the Village considering making a multi-year payback plan a part of the situation mentioned above whereby the Village fronts the money for lateral repair or replacement?
Kevin Buckley February 04, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Good questions, Bob. (You should come to these PPII meetings..) These laterals will fall in to 3 groups .. those that are not leaking (very few 70+ year old pipes will fall in here, if any) .. ones that can be re-lined at $3k (perhaps 75%), and those that are so broken/bent, they must be replaced at $6k (hopefully >25%.) How do you figure which group you're in? Televising. It's basically a mandatory step, unless you don't mind throwing $6k into a problem where $3k could fix it for the next 50+ years. What was discussed was .. the Village puts out an entire area to bid, gets the lowest price, pays the contractor, then assesses back the cost to the homeowner, between $3k-$6k (and hopefully less.) Then the homeowner could pay that assessment over 5-7 years, like all other assessments, at the Village's cost of borrowing (2-3%.) The theory of having the Village/MMSD pick up the televising cost is .. if we mandate that everyone have well functioning laterals, televise them, and if requested, show the homeowner they need to repair their pipe, hopefully giving them the "good" news, that their estimate is $3k not $6k. Televising is basically a $450 benefit. Could the village give you $450 for the whole project and let you pay the televising? Yep. (And yes, I thought $450 was high, and challenged the figure. It was their best guess.)
Bob McBride February 04, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Thanks, Kevin. That makes sense. Frankly, my main concern was with getting hit with a big bill all that once for those who might not be able to absorb one.
Bob McBride February 04, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I agree it would be a good idea to attend the PP II meetings. I'll look around for the schedule.
Steve Nersesian February 22, 2012 at 02:17 AM
I read in the Milwaukee journal that the city of milwaukee received money from mmsd to fund lateral repair for about 400 houses in cooperspark
tom sherman April 05, 2012 at 04:50 PM
i urinate and defecate in holding tanks to wit plastic barrels. i have two manholes each within 350' of my house. i would like the right to refuse a lateral and dump my sewage in these manholes. ditto any other harmful chemical i would use (i use practically none). doing this is one of the main reasons i only use about a gallon of water/day. further i no longer have plumbing bills, or have to listen to water noise in the pipes. another advantage is i can move my" toilets" to any room in the house. there are many other advantages to what i am doing which i am not listing. do i have to conform to wha teveyrone else is doing because they are ignorant of this idea or would be too lazy to move tanks '350 every say 6 months?. why not let people have a choice?. i would be willing to discuss further details with village engineers or donahue associates
tom sherman April 05, 2012 at 05:04 PM
THIS IS A SUMMARY OF WHAT I SENT LAURI ROLLINGS. PER #2 ARE LATERALS THE ONLY ANSWER? To review what I have sent you previously: 1) a noise law idea allowing only 14 hours/week to cut your lawn, 2) a sewer system proposal that employs holding tanks which are transported from ones home when full to a few main lines to be emptied directly in a manhole and back again continuously.


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