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Amy Leuthold

Mike Christiansen Joins Water Services Department

August 15, 2022

New Water Distribution System

July 25, 2022

New Water Distribution System

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Big Solutions for a
Small Town Water System

Project Owner:
City of Revere, MN

Key Experience:

  • Successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, with four separate construction contracts and 100% remote funding agency coordination
  • Secured 86% grant through USDA RD, and DEED SCDP funding
  • Replaced water meters with remotely read automatic reading system. High accuracy meters increased revenue and decreased water loss
  • Replaced aging ACP pipe with new PVC - reducing public health risk and greatly reducing risk of water main breaks

Key Features:

  • Entirely new water distribution system
  • All new water meters
  • Demolition of existing water tower
  • Improved water quality with connection to Red Rock Rural Water System

The City of Revere, MN faced a familiar challenge for rural communities in the upper Midwest. The City’s aging water infrastructure was in need of upgrades. But with a declining population and many residents on a fixed income, there were limited resources to pay for costly repairs and maintenance of their failing water system. The water mains, valves and hydrants in the community needed to be replaced, the water tower needed to be repainted, and there was no treatment or back-up supply for the one and only well in town. In need of assistance, The City reached out to DGR Engineering (DGR) as a trusted water professional in the region to help them find a solution.

Aging Water Infrastructure
The existing water infrastructure was installed in the mid-1900s and included water mains which were constructed using asbestos-cement pipe (ACP), which was approaching the end of its useful life. As ACP ages it becomes brittle, making it difficult to repair. With the presence of asbestos fibers in the pipe material, ACP can be a health risk when the pipe is cut during repairs or when cracked. The City was also experiencing a water loss of over 18%. The town’s mechanical water meters were over 40 years old and were suspected to be contributing to the system’s water loss, in the form of unmetered water.

The City’s water tower was over 70 years old with a coating system that was in poor condition and showed visible signs of pitting in the steel. The most recent water tower inspection recommended a complete blast and re-coating of the tower, which would require special consideration for lead paint removal and other improvements to bring the structure into compliance with OSHA safety standards.

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Alternative Water Supply
The City’s water supply consisted of a single production well drilled in 1982 at a depth of approximately 200 feet. Although the well was still in good operating condition, there was no back-up well and no standby generation to ensure continuous water supply in the event of a power outage or failure/maintenance of the existing well. The Minnesota Department of Health imposed a requirement on the City to obtain a backup water source, either by drilling a second well or connecting to a regional water system.
The City’s water source was untreated except for chlorine injection for disinfection. The water quality of the existing well met all state and federal primary drinking water standards, but there were several contaminants that exceeded the non-mandatory secondary drinking water standards. High concentrations of iron, sulfates and total dissolved solids created taste, color and odor concerns within the community. The City needed a solution that not only provided a redundant water supply, but also improved water quality.

Funding Assistance
The City wanted an engineering study that would identify necessary water system improvements and establish a budget for financing those improvements. DGR assisted the City in securing a Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households (SEARCH) grant through USDA Rural Development to fund 100% of the cost of a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) and Environmental Assessment (EA). The report recommended full replacement of the water distribution system, new water meters with an automated meter reading (AMR) system, demolition of the water tower, abandonment of the existing well and chemical feed building, and a water service connection to the regional rural water system, Red Rock Rural Water System.

With an estimated price tag of over $1.1 million, and a small population, The City needed a comprehensive solution to help make the water system improvements affordable for its residents. The City's median household income made it eligible to receive a grant through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) for public facility improvements.

The SCDP public facility grant was packaged with financing through Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Program that included additional grant funding and a low interest loan. The City’s final funding package included over 86% grant, keeping the project costs affordable for the town’s residents.

 

Project Design and Construction
With funding secured for the project, The City asked DGR to proceed with final design of the improvements recommended in the PER. Because of the unique nature of each type of work, the final design entailed separate construction contracts for the water distribution system replacement, water metering system replacement, water tower demolition and the connection to the Red Rock Rural Water System.

The water distribution contract was bid in February of 2020. By May of 2020, the water distribution contractor started construction. By the end of the year, all water main and services had been replaced, new water meters had been installed and the system was connected to Red Rock’s system. Once the connection was made to Red Rock, Revere residents said their final goodbyes to the City’s 73-year-old water tower.

Today, The City’s residents enjoy high quality water that comes to them in a new and reliable distribution system. City staff rest comfortably knowing the risk of water main breaks during cold winter nights is now greatly reduced, and customers are being accurately billed for usage. Thanks to a generous funding package, it was all done with a reasonable impact to user rates that was well received by the City’s residents.

In the end, the City of Revere completed a project that met their objectives, budget, and schedule. DGR staff is proud to have played a key role in this successful project.

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Site Development, Utility Improvements

July 25, 2022

Site Development, Utility Improvements

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public support for
public safety in alton

Project Owner:
City of Alton, IA

Key Experience:

  • Long term coordination with the City of Alton to plan for the future needs of the area
  • Successful coordination with local contractors
  • Local design partnerships with CMBA and EDA for the building addition project

Key Features:

  • Long-term City planning outlook- 2015 street project, 2022 Fire Station Addition project
  • Community support, $2M bonding bill supported by 97% of voters
  • Local contractors bids add to the community feel

DGR Engineering (DGR) continues to support the City of Alton, IA in planning and design for their long-term infrastructure needs, including a new fire station. As part of that process, a multi-phase plan for infrastructure projects was developed, splitting the project work into two phases to meet budgetary and approval constraints. Phase 1 (2015) involved a street reconstruction project, including updated sanitary sewer and water infrastructure with new road surfacing (PCC). Phase 2 (2021-22) included new (PCC) driveway and sidewalk, grading and building utilities adjacent to the new building addition.

Driveways, sidewalks and utilities for the 11th Street project (2015) were planned while keeping in mind the challenging ADA site for the future fire department expansion project (2021).

To add to the public support sentiment that surrounded this project, both publicly bid projects featured area contractors. The 2015 street project was completed by Jellema Construction of Alton, and the building general contractor was Poppma-Sikma of Sheldon. The design group included DGR as the civil engineering consultant for both projects, while the building addition (2021-22) was designed by CMBA Architects and Engineering Design Associates (EDA) as design partners.
Based on the design, bidding and construction time frames, the building addition project experienced the early effects of recent economic inflation. The City and design team selected project materials and changes as needed to meet the project budget. The project overwhelmingly passed in the bonding vote, including an additional parking paving bid alternate that was not included in the final project.

Challenges
As with most projects, challenges presented themselves throughout the course of the two projects. The primary concern from a site perspective was constructing a single floor elevation building addition adjacent to a roadway with 4' of fall, while maintaining fire truck passable driveway slopes and ADA required sidewalk grades.

The City provided early indication of their future building plans, allowing DGR engineers to design street grades that would meet the municipal street needs and allow for an ADA accessible route to the new community asset.
In the end, successful communication, planning and flexibility culminated in two successful projects for the community of Alton, resulting in a singular infrastructure upgrade.

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DGR designed a new lift station, new sanitary sewer, water mains and the associated service lines as well as a storm sewer system to collect stormwater. The stormwater was routed to the south end of Rushmore Drive to the sedimentation basin designed as part of the project. The sedimentation basin has a system in place to help collect trash washed from the streets and to contain sediment and oils from the roadway. This allows the City to collect that material and dispose of it, rather than have it carried into Splitrock Creek.

DGR teamed with Confluence to facilitate streetscaping and the sedimentation basin landscaping.

The sedimentation basin was a unique feature to this project. It was designed to slow the discharge of stormwater to Splitrock Creek in smaller rain events, but it also has the ability to be overtopped at the bottom in larger rain events without causing damage to the system.

As the City of Brandon grows, the basin will help to meet upcoming MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) EPA requirements that will be placed on the City.DGR assisted the the City in acquiring the land needed to construct the sedimentation basin and relocate the City’s lift station that serves the area. The decision was made to relocate and construct a new sanitary sewer lift station on the same parcel that would contain the sedimentation basin. The new lift station replaced some aging pumps and equipment, and employees will no longer need to climb down into a confined space. In addition, an on-site back up generator was added to provide instant backup in the event of a power outage.

During construction, DGR provided on-site construction observation to ensure the work complied with the design requirements and to work with residents, answer their questions and address their concerns. Temporary mailboxes were added near the post office for the project and when the project was complete, Cluster Box Units (CBU’s) were installed, eliminating mailboxes at each residence.

Phase II is planned to be constructed in 2023 and Phase III construction is planned for 2025.

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Neighborhood Reconstruction

July 25, 2022

Neighborhood Reconstruction

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Making Neighborhoods Better.

Project Owner:
City of Brandon, SD

Key Experience:

  • Project Phasing
  • Community Communication
  • Open House Informational Meetings
  • Easements

Key Features:

  • Water and Sewer Line Replacement
  • New Storm Sewer
  • New Curb and Gutter
  • New Asphalt Pavement
  • Sidewalk and ADA Improvements

In 2018, the City of Brandon selected DGR Engineering (DGR) to assist the community with the reconstruction of approximately 30 city blocks of the Rushmore Area in the southeast part of the city. The streets had outlived their useful life and the roadway was starting to degrade quickly in certain areas. Part of the reason for the rapid degradation of the street surface was the lack of storm sewer in the neighborhood. In addition, the water and sewer lines were in need of replacement due to their age and condition. Additional storm sewer, new curb, gutter and asphalt pavement, as well as a new 4 ft. wide sidewalk and ADA improvements, were also included.

The first steps in the process were to survey the entire project area, coordinate with staff to define the scope, and develop cost estimates for the work that needed to be done. Potential project phases were developed for the project to meet the financial needs of the City. Phasing of the project that would best fit the City's budget was determined, and then DGR began to design the first phase.

Communication was critical to keep residents informed. Letters were mailed out to residents prior to a survey taking place. A public open house was held to give residents details of the project and inform them of easements that would be needed. Easement documents were prepared and sent to property owners. DGR conducted many personal meetings with residents to discuss and obtain easements to facilitate the project.

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DGR designed a new lift station, new sanitary sewer, water mains and the associated service lines as well as a storm sewer system to collect stormwater. The stormwater was routed to the south end of Rushmore Drive to the sedimentation basin designed as part of the project. The sedimentation basin has a system in place to help collect trash washed from the streets and to contain sediment and oils from the roadway. This allows the City to collect that material and dispose of it, rather than have it carried into Splitrock Creek.

DGR teamed with Confluence to facilitate streetscaping and the sedimentation basin landscaping.

The sedimentation basin was a unique feature to this project. It was designed to slow the discharge of stormwater to Splitrock Creek in smaller rain events, but it also has the ability to be overtopped at the bottom in larger rain events without causing damage to the system. As the City of Brandon grows, the basin will help to meet upcoming MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) EPA requirements that will be placed on the City.

DGR assisted the the City in acquiring the land needed to construct the sedimentation basin and relocate the City’s lift station that serves the area. The decision was made to relocate and construct a new sanitary sewer lift station on the same parcel that would contain the sedimentation basin. The new lift station replaced some aging pumps and equipment, and employees will no longer need to climb down into a confined space. In addition, an on-site back up generator was added to provide instant backup in the event of a power outage.

During construction, DGR provided on-site construction observation to ensure the work complied with the design requirements and to work with residents, answer their questions and address their concerns. Temporary mailboxes were added near the post office for the project and when the project was complete, Cluster Box Units (CBU’s) were installed, eliminating mailboxes at each residence.

Phase II is planned to be constructed in 2023 and Phase III construction is planned for 2025.

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Sioux City Office Welcomes Dianna Remer

July 19, 2022