Belgrade City Council members told city staff to “go for it,” regarding the city pursuing a design for a lift station that would serve new development in the northwest corner of the city.
Lift stations are used for pumping wastewater, or sewage, from a lower elevation to higher elevation. These stations are needed when the elevation of the source does not allow gravity to pull the materials through it.
City staff is calling the new pump a “regional lift station” because it would serve an area that would cover three developments being proposed on the Prescott property and a second phase of the Henson subdivision. The city is also aware that the Belgrade School District is looking for another location for a new elementary school, possibly in that area.
The city is hoping to design a big enough lift station that would cover the capacity needs ahead of the proposed developments in the area, rather than having to build five or six smaller stations. Belgrade City Engineer Keith Waring told the council at its Tuesday meeting that a lift station at Cruiser Lane is currently over capacity for the city.
A requirement for the city’s waste water system is if one of the lift station stops working, the only other lift station would have to handle the capacity. While that hasn’t happened, Waring said either lift station would not be able to keep up with the city’s needs.
Waring is advising council members to use $837,000 the city has collected in impact fees for sewer to design the wastewater system. That money, he said, would be replenished when developers begin to build houses in the northwest corner of the city.
As it stands, developers have to include plans for a lift station to take care of wastewater needs if there isn’t one already in place. Each new developer would also pay their share of the cost along with the city if they decide to connect to the new system.
By the city taking charge of designing one larger system, Waring said it would be saving costs from having to update an existing station on Cruiser Lane and from upkeep of
possible multiple stations across the city.
“Somebody needed to take the lead on this, and it makes sense that it’s the city that takes the lead on this,” he said.
The risk the city would be taking, Waring said, is developers dropping their plans. If one of the bigger developers decides to stop their projects, he said he doesn’t think the city would have enough money to move forward on the project.
Another challenge is the city would have to acquire easements from properties where pipes would be placed to connect the whole system. Waring said he doesn’t think that would be a problem, since connecting a property to a wastewater system would make the land more developable.
Of course, he said, all the plans are contingent on developers agreeing to connect to the system and the city obtaining easement rights.
“What we’re trying to do is get out ahead of this and, instead of ending up with five lift stations that the city has to maintain, getting one,” Waring said.
Nothing has been decided.
Waring said if they run into a landowner who doesn’t give the city an easement or a developer says they aren’t going further with their proposal, their plans would stop. But, the ultimate goal of the project is to design the best plan for the city that would not hurt current ratepayers and be fair with new developers.