Bateman recently returned to the
council offering a much less costly solution. He requested the city
to cover costs of moving his septic system laterals to higher
The city again reviewed the problem.
During the weeks of research it became
more apparent that the city could not practically cover costs
incurred on private property without all residents being able to
request the same. City residences and businesses are responsible for
installation and maintenance costs of the laterals on their
property. When a property is built in city limits, the builder or
developer pays for the laterals that connect to the city line.
Then residents pay a regular (separate)
sewer bill to help maintain the city sewer system. The Campus View
Drive residents do not pay a city sewer bill.
"You're opening yourself up,"
wastewater treatment plant manager Grant Eaton said. Replacing the
laterals for Bateman would be equivalent to replacing laterals to
the sewer for any city residence. "You're saying you'll take care of
every homeowner in town." A common dig for lateral replacement runs
$6,000 to $8,000. There are 6,000 hookups in Lincoln.
A few weeks ago Bateman said he thought
that maybe he would speak with his neighbors and see about possibly
de-annexing from the city. He thought they could pool the tax money
they pay the city for other services and maybe do something about
this problem themselves and pay for their own private services, such
as snow removal.
Last night (Tuesday) he left word that
he was withdrawing his petition. He had to get back home to continue
cleaning his carpets from this past week's flooding. His request did
lead the city to learn about the latest choice in sewer-septic
management that is now serving some outlying populations.
Last Thursday a group of city council
members took a field trip to Petersburg to see the latest in septic
systems for subdivisions. The cluster septic system design that they
viewed served a larger population of about 360 homes, though the
design can serve as few as eight to 10 homes well.
In this system, homes have their own
septic tank that collects solids. The tanks must be emptied as
specified by the city every three to five years. The wastewater is
permitted to travel through pipes to a collection point, a well;
then it is pumped to the main lift station, which the city would
own. From there it is pumped to the city wastewater plant. Only the
wastewater is moved through 2- to 4-inch septic lines to common
lines to the lift station.
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For a large project like the Petersburg
system that serves 360 homes, the equipment runs about $5,000
without installation. It runs $8,000 to $10,000 to put a system in.
It could run higher with fewer homes, such as the 10 on Campus View
Drive, sharing the system costs.
Sewer committee chairman Benny Huskins
said that if Bateman changed his mind, he felt the council is more
prepared and this might be possible to do.
"I think this is something good to keep
in mind because in the future it could save us a lot of money rather
than putting in a regular sewer system," Buzz Busby said.
It cuts down on the amount and costs of
moving sewage, Eaton said, because you have only the wastewater to
handle. The solids are left behind in the septic tank.
Eaton had begun looking at applying the
new system to the Campus View Road. This would involve running a
2-inch collection pipe 3,000 feet along the road, where gas and
water lines are present. He estimates that the whole project would
cost about $260,000 “The minute you start getting into utilities,
the cost goes up,” Eaton said. A new subdivision wouldn't have the
utility and road replacements to complicate and raise costs.
Another issue in the same field was
raised during the evening discussion. Alderman Huskins said that the
city is getting stuck quite often covering costs when a contractor
has not adequately finished replacing the road where a new sewer has
been tapped. The city has to go in and finish the area in many
cases. Part of the reason this happens is that the fill has to sit
30 days before it can be finished. It is difficult to get the
contractors to come back after that period of time. Usually you
can't even find them anymore, Alderman Huskins said.
He suggested that bond money might be
required that would be refunded after an inspection.
Usually the fee is a flat fee of
$1,500, Alderman Busby said. He said he has never lived in a city
that charges only $50 for a tap fee. Lincoln's begins at $50 and
goes up to $60, $70, $80, and $100 to $200 in accordance with the
building cost permit. Lincoln's ordinance sets the fee for an
over-$100,000 building as two-tenths of 1 percent of the cost of
by flat fee or percentage and bonded, the 1979 revision will soon be
updated and the city will not get stuck with that extra cost