NJUS sets five-year water and sewer plan
The Nome Joint Utility System has prepared plans to lay pipe for sewer and water extensions and upgrades along eight or nine stretches of Nome’s streets. A draft list of priority capital improvements in the five-year plan would replace failed and failing Sclaircore water and sewer main piping installed in the early 1980s. Sclaircore is pre-insulated, heat traced pipe.
The utility is working on funding as they work through the “to do” list according to John K. Handeland, utility manager. NJUS has been working with U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to investigate funding opportunities available for a loan-grant combination.
The tentative plan, put before the Nome Joint Utility System Board late last month, calls for work to begin this summer to replace 4,000 feet of line along a right angle at the corner of Sixth Avenue and I Street.
The 2017 season work will also include a River Street wastewater lift station renovation. The project will include replacing pumps, pump rails, variable frequency drives, level related appurtenances as parts of a general rehabilitation of the lift station facility. The lift station moves wastewater from lower to higher elevation to permit gravity flow.
In 2018, further plans would permit work at Belmont Point—replacement of 5,000 feet of failed Sclaircore water and sewer main piping installed in the 1980s. Also in 2018, NJUS, as the first part of a two-part project, plans to replace Sclaircore along King Place on the portion west of Steadman Street.
In summer 2019, work along Bering Street and Seppala Drive, both state roads, would replace Sclaircore in advance of a proposed state Dept. of Transportation project to improve these heavily used roads. Other plans for 2019 would replace almost 4,000 lineal feet of Sclaircore water and sewer piping along Steadman Street and Sixth Avenue.
Upgrades in 2020 would bring the second part of water and sewer work along King Place on the portion east of Steadman Street.
Additional work in 2021 would take place on the west side of town—approximately 1,200 lineal feet of sewer and water work along West E Street. Another water and sewer Sclaircore replacement project will replace about 3,000 lineal feet of failed and failing, direct buried Sclaircore along West Front Street. The project will address another issue, that the gravity sewer main was placed at a much steeper grade than necessary. That required a lift station at West Front Street and Steadman Street. Therefore, if crews regraded the 1,500 lineal feet of sewer main from Bering Street to Steadman Street, NJUS could remove the Steadman lift station.
NJUS does a survey every five years or so to identify progress made and projects still needing to be addressed for upgrades. Completed projects from the 2010 master plan included water and sewer replacements in east Nome; the Snake River Bridge utility relocation; water and sewer telemetry; Seppala Drive Water transmission main replacement and Snake River (old channel) sewer force main replacement.
In other business:
• Banner Wind Farm operation figures in years 2013 through 2017 show wind-produced kilowatts have offset purchase of generator fuel for a savings of $533,448. For 2014-2016, full years of operation, the average cost of a kilowatt produced by wind is 10 cents versus the cost of diesel, which has averaged between 14 and 22 cents. Handeland and NJUS board member Chuck Wheeler attended a workshop on storage battery technology in Kotzebue on April 6. To date in 2017, cost of a wind-produced kilowatt has been closer to 25 cents versus diesel at 13 cents. This is a result of less wind production due to issues associated with icing that caused turbines to be unavailable for large blocks of time, according to Handeland, who expects this trend to turn around with warmer weather.
• In a meeting with Quintillion for an update on their fiber project to bring affordable broadband to Nome, they say they expect connectivity in Nome by the end of 2017.