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Design contract of more than $260,000 for western collector sewer has support of Willmar's City Council

WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has approved a $260,630 contract with wastewater project consultant Donohue and Associates to design a major sanitary sewer line to serve the western area of the city.

Called the western collector sewer, the line would route wastewater flow directly to the new treatment plant being constructed west of town.

The collector would connect to areas west of Foot Lake and north of U.S. Highway 12, would serve developed areas, and would serve areas proposed for future development, such as the new industrial park. It would cross under U.S. Highway 12, the old airport property and state Highway 40.

Rhonda Rae, Donohue's program manager in Willmar, said design work would start with discussion with city development staff on a location for the collector.

"I know from reading the city's plan that this was an area you want development and growth, and you cannot have that unless you have city services,'' said Rae.

In related business, the council approved a $5,695 increase in the contract with wastewater project contractor S.R. Weidema to remove and replace a 36-inch storm sewer pipe the contractor discovered while constructing the new 48-inch interceptor along 28th Avenue Southwest at Eighth Street Southwest.

Rae said the pipe, which drains into a ditch, was not shown on any city maps. In order to continue with construction of the interceptor, Donohue negotiated an increase in Weidema's contact to handle the problem.

In other sewer project matters, the council approved a contract change order to spend $290,750 to upgrade a portion of 28th Avenue Southwest from First Street to Sixth Street Southwest to take care of unforeseen soil conditions and to upgrade the street to a 9-ton state aid route.

City officials said the Minnesota Department of Transportation recently designated the 28th Avenue Southwest segment as a state aid route.

The designation aligns with the city's transportation plan to make 28th Avenue a major collector street, officials said. They recommended the street be restored to state-aid specifications now rather than reconstruct the street in the future.

The project will be funded from within the 5 percent contingency portion of the wastewater project's Public Facilities Authority loan to the city.

Another wastewater project change -- $4,200 to Voss Plumbing and Heating of Paynesville -- will allow installation of two 12-inch gate valves and boxes at the connection point with Jennie-O Turkey Store plant on Willmar Avenue. The change order covers materials only. The contractor is not charging labor costs.

Rae said the valves will allow diversion of turkey plant waste to the old treatment plant in the event of a catastrophic failure of the new pump station also being built there, and will allow controlled flow during startup of the new plant.

Also, 11 miscellaneous wastewater project changes costing $60,801 were approved by the council.

In other business, the council:

- Adopted a revised formula for contributions to the Fire Relief Association, a firefighters retirement plan. Under the formula, the city will contribute up to $25,000 to the fund per year only if fund earnings are not adequate to cover full benefit levels. If earnings plus the city's maximum annual contribution are not enough to fund benefit levels, the association will forego any increase for that year.

- Accepted a $1,000 donation from the Willmar Area Senior Citizens Club to help pay for special events at the Community Center.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150