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Broader discussion on sewer system expected soon
EVERETT - The Everett City Council is expected to discuss the cost of replacing the city’s outdated sewer system in a few weeks after an engineering firm’s draft plan is completed.
Part of the conversation will likely include utility rate increases to cover the cost to separate combined sewer and storm water pipes.
Urban flooding in north Everett in late August and early September highlighted a massively expensive infrastructure problem facing many cities with aging or outdated sewer systems.
It is estimated it would cost $600 million to replace all of Everett’s combined sewer and storm water pipes, which can back up during heavy rains.
North Everett’s system dates to the late 1890s.
Mayor Ray Stephanson believes the work should be done sooner rather than later.
“I am absolutely convinced we cannot go through these events again,” Stephanson said last week, adding, “The devil will be in the details.”
Replacing everything now would break the bank. The city spends about $100 million every 10 years on water and sewer improvements.
“Ultimately, it comes down to money,” public works director Dave Davis said Sept. 4. “How much are citizens willing to pay in (utility) rates?”
The city told the engineering firm writing Everett’s scheduled sewer comprehensive plan to look into separating more of the city’s sewer and storm water pipelines.
The City Council approved the work order on Oct. 2 for $72,000.
The firm’s draft report should be ready in mid-November, public works spokeswoman Marla Carter said.
Several north Everett residents called on the council last month to fix things as soon as possible after their basements flooded.
The flood damage claim count from the August and September rain storms is at 149 as of Oct. 8.
Everett Community College also is talking with the city to get sewers fixed near Rainier Hall close to Wetmore Avenue.
The water damage was so great at Rainier Hall that a contractor recommended the college replace two feet of drywall throughout the hall. Classes on the first floor were moved, EvCC vice president Pat Sisneros said.
The college is studying solutions to mitigate future urban flooding, Sisneros said.
The city is working on a separation project south of EvCC called the Sewer “M” project covering 30 blocks of homes north, west and south of Providence’s Colby hospital tower. Work there will start in January.

 

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