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Sanger officials hire firm to evaluate wastewater plant

Profile image for By John D. Harden / Staff Writer
By John D. Harden / Staff Writer

SANGER — City officials in Sanger have hired an engineering firm to evaluate the city’s wastewater plant in hopes to improve its efficiency.

City officials have planned for years to hire professionals to evaluate the city’s current wastewater system, which Mayor Thomas Muir has described an 800-pound gorilla that has caused the city some trouble.

Last week, city officials approved a $53,449 contract with Alan Plummer Associates, the company that will conduct the evaluation.

The company will use the data collected from its citywide evaluation to develop plans for improving a higher level of efficiency from the wastewater plant.

The company will also develop a capital improvement plan, a recommendation for when the current plant should be replaced and a plan for implementation.

City officials said they hope the evaluation will lead to additional plant capacity at minimal construction cost.

During a recent council meeting, officials said they hope to delay a major expansion of the wastewater plant until the local economy improves and until additional growth demands more capacity.

Once the study is complete, the city will use a combination of tax bonds and city revenue to make some of the improvements the survey calls for, said Mike Brice, city manager.

“From that, I’m hoping we can fix the [inflow and infiltration] and improve the condition of our system,” Brice said in a recent interview.

In April, Brice presented plans that outlined ways to relieve some of the city infrastructure issues. He proposed spending $8.7 million over 10 years to improve roads, water lines and sewer lines.

Brice told the council the city needs $2.6 million for sewer upgrades. About $1.3 million would be used to repair inflow and infiltration issues and the rest would be used to extend sewer lines along Interstate 35.

The city expects to issue about $4 million in certificates of obligations to cover the costs, Brice said.

Brice said he expects tax bonds for the projects could be issued as soon as this summer, he said.

The survey to be conducted by Alan Plummer Associates will be the second wastewater survey the city has done since 2010.

An analysis conducted in 2010 by KSA Engineers reported that Sanger’s wastewater system had “several deficiencies,” including insufficient capacity for some of its wastewater lines.

Some of the wastewater issues have manifested as sanitary sewer overflows and state violations, according to records obtain from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Sanger has reported at least 40 sewer overflows to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality since 2007, according to records obtained through an open records request. More than half of those incidents occurred in 2012 and 2013.

The work done by Alan Plummer Associates will show officials how to correct the deficiencies discovered in 2010, Brice said.

Muir said the city is taking the necessary steps and spending the money needed to take care of the issues.

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.