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Geneva OKs $1.4M for sanitary sewer study

Engineers tasked to remedy sewer overflow, backups

GENEVA – Aldermen recommended approval of a $1.4 million three-year contract for an engineering firm to do a sewer system evaluation where heavy rains cause overflow from sanitary sewers and basement sewer backups.

Acting as the Committee of the Whole Jan. 14, aldermen unanimously recommended the engineering contract be awarded to Walter E. Deuchler Associates Inc. of Aurora.

The first year of the contract is $135,200 for fiscal year 2018-19.

The second year of the contract is $735,800 in fiscal year 2019-20 and the third year is $503,400 in fiscal year 2020-21. The second and third years of the contract will require City Council approval for those fiscal year’s budgets, according to the contract.

City Administrator Stephanie Dawkins said oe of the goals of the study would be to see if a second sewer line across the river is needed to convey excess flow to the wastewater treatment plant.

Other goals are infiltration and inflow removal, whether an in-line storage or an excess flow treatment facility is needed, a facility plan to evaluate the current plant’s capacity, compliance measures to prevent sanitary sewer overflows and develop recommendations as to how the city can serve potential new customers in the South East Industrial Area, Dawkins said.

Some 90 percent of the city’s sanitary sewer system installed before 2001 continues to age and deteriorate, officials said.

During heavy rains, the sanitary sewer system is overwhelmed by groundwater that enters the sewers, resulting in sanitary sewer overflows and basement backups, officials said.

Sanitary sewer overflow is not allowed under the city’s wastewater treatment plant permit from the Environmental Protection Agency, officials said.

And if an overflow or basement backups still occur, that they do not violate EPA standards, or impair any water systems, the contract states.

Though Geneva has made progress to control sanitary sewer infiltration by lining and replacing city sewers, it is not enough to achieve the goal of no sanitary sewer overflows or basement backups, documents and the contract show.

The contract also calls for the engineering company to prepare a preliminary design and estimate construction costs if the city needs additional facilities to process wastewater, according to the contract.

Deuchler is also to develop a capital improvement plan for all of its recommendations for Geneva’s wastewater collection system and the treatment plant, according to the contract.

Superintendent of Water and Wastewater Bob VanGyseghem said the city has one sewer main crossing at the end of South Street and River Lane that goes to the wastewater plant.

A 24-inch line goes from River Lane from the north side of the tracks and a 36-inch line comes from the south side of the tracks, both merging into the 20-inch line that goes across the river, VanGyseghem said.

"That’s the area right now we that we are running into problems with sanitary overflows when we have heavy rains,” VanGyseghem said.

If the city were to put in another sanitary sewer line across the river, it would be on the south side of the railroad tracks going towards the plant, VanGyseghem said.

Deuchler president John Frerich said getting permits for a sanitary sewer river crossing is extensive but not impossible, Frerich said.

“We just completed one across the Fox River just south of Montgomery,” Frerich said. “We conveyed a 36-inch [line] across one bank to another.”

The City Council will take final action on the contract with Deuchler.

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