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Nashua signs off on sewer repairs

Union Leader Correspondent

May 05. 2013 10:05PM

NASHUA - As city officials ponder whether to increase sewer rates by about 15 percent, an aldermanic committee last week approved a $1.6 million contract for numerous sewerage improvements.

The upgrades, part of the 2013 sewerage replacement project, were authorized by the Finance Committee last Wednesday in an effort to address failing sewers with repeated sinkholes.

The $1,645,984 contract with Park Construction of Fitzwilliam includes sewer main improvements on several streets - Franklin Street, Middle Street, Mulberry Street, Northeastern Boulevard, and Park and Court streets.

In addition to new sewer mains, new drain pipe lining, new manholes, connections to catch basins and building sewers and pavement restoration will take place, according to the contract.

"Park Construction is the lowest combined bidder and has done considerable sewer work in the city in the past. In addition to work done in the city of Nashua, they have performed satisfactorily on water-sewer projects in a number of communities in southern New Hampshire, and are currently working on a $5 million plus (combined sewer overflow) project for the City of Manchester, who indicated that they are doing quality work on this project," states a memo to Mayor Donnalee Lozeau.

It is expected to take a maximum of 500 days for the work to be completed, according to the bid.

"It is a significant project," Lozeau told aldermen last week, explaining similar work was done last summer on some of these same roadways. Overall, about 3,400 linear feet of sewer main will be replaced as part of the work.

In conjunction with the sewer project, Pennichuck Water Works is soliciting bids for its 2013 Water Main Improvement Project. In addition, National Grid is expected to replace some of its existing cast-iron gas mains during the sewer and water replacement projects.

Lozeau said that although the water and sewer pipes cannot be changed at the same time, the work will be done by the same contractor to make the process less disruptive and more seamless.

Meanwhile, aldermen have been presented with a proposed ordinance seeking to amend sewer user fee rates and charges, as being recommended by the Board of Public Works.

If approved, sewer user fee flow charges will increase from $1.78 per 100 cubic feet to $2.05 per 100 cubic feet effective July 1. Quarterly and monthly demand charges will also increase by 15 percent if approved by the Board of Aldermen.

"This increase in rates and charges is intended to bring annual revenues to a level that will support the ongoing cost of operations, fund future debt payments on the CSO projects, fund non-CSO infrastructure improvements and provide reserves for capital equipment replacement," says the proposal. "Future recommended increases will depend on the results of updates to the rate/revenue analysis."

Lozeau said earlier that the sewer fee changes - if approved - will increase typical sewer bills by about $40 a year, or an average of about $10 more per quarter.

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