Sewer, Electrical System to Blame for Infrastructure Freeze

4 years 7 months 4 weeks ago Monday, March 17 2014 Mar 17, 2014 Monday, March 17, 2014 8:40:00 PM CDT March 17, 2014 in News
By: Nicole Neidenberg, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - More than 3,000 residents moved downtown in the last three years and City Manager Mike Matthes said that's unexpected for any city this size.

"That's unprecedented growth in our history. A lot more electricity needed, a lot more sewage produced, so right now were kind of maxed out in that regard," Matthes said.

Jack Downing adds to the influx of people downtown and said the location is ideal. Downing's apartment complex on South Ninth Street was sold to another proprietor earlier this year with the possibility of being demolished due to poor infrastructure.

"When I first moved in three years ago, I noticed hearing water running from our bathroom and didn't really know what was going on until we looked under the lid and we saw that it was just continuously running water," Downing said.

According to Matthes, the sewage system is one major problem downtown currently. The city is moving toward a "smart growth philosophy," encouraging people to bring density downtown, re-develop instead of greenfield development. However Matthes said, "We have to look at each project and say does this need electricity, will it produce sewage and if it does the end answer is no, you can't build."

Downing's apartment complex was built more than eighty years ago and uses 10 gallons every time the toilet is flushed, according to an inspection done by the city. Newer toilets typically use only one gallon. The project to replace these apartments was approved because it will result in less sewage being produced. On the other hand, Mattes says a new 20-story building downtown, "is a giant increase in the amount of sewage produced and a giant increase in amount of power over using that land today, so that's one we have to say no to right now."

Downing said he's uncertain with the city's decision on the downtown infrastructure freeze.

"With the new business and influx of people your kind of torn because you don't want the city to do anything that they shouldn't be doing with the water system, but at the same time you kind of want them to keep building up downtown," Downing said.

One setback Columbia's sewer system is having is too much rain getting into the sewer pipes, which can only handle so much pressure. "It begins to shoot up and then we have raw sewage running into the creeks, down the streets and into people's basement," Matthes added.

In the 1930s, sewer pipes were made out of cardboard, which still linger underground, but while the city is replacing the cardboard pipes, the brick pipes are leaking and causing more damage. Matthes said the cheapest solution in fixing the pipes is to reline with concrete epoxy, which is stronger than concrete and can dry in damp environments. The city said it's doing that now.

"We have some brick sewers that are over 100 years old, downtown's main trunk line," Matthes said. "It's brick so there's mortar and that doesn't stand up over time either and those are the kind of things we want to get into and reline or replace."

Currently, there is $1.6 million of cash in reserves the city could put toward improving the sewer system. Matthes said to complete the necessary sewer work downtown the city will need an additional $12 million. This money would have come from a proposed tax increment financing district, or TIF. The TIF was proposed at the city council meeting on March 4, 2014, but it did not pass.

Another problem associated with adding unprecedented growth in a short amount of time is supplying enough electricity. Utility services specialist, Connie Kacprowicz said more people equals more power.

"During last budget year we made a plan to add an additional feeder line, which will bring in additional electricity to the downtown area from the Rebel Hill substation," Kacprowicz said.

Right now, Columbia's downtown district gets all of its electricity through the power plant on Business Loop 70, but since the Rebel Hill substation on St. Charles Road has a free circuit, one line will be used to help generate downtown bringing in seven more megawatts.

"That line is going to be using some of the existing infrastructure. The cost of that is $1 million and that was budgeted for the fiscal year 2013, so that project is currently underway," Kacprowicz said.

That $1 million is generated not by taxes, but by electricity bills. The difference between the electric system and the sewer system is the electric system is all interconnected.

Eight different substations generate Columbia's electricity. A substation transforms voltage from high to low, or the reverse. Electric power can flow at any given time through several substations at different voltage levels with the end product supplying electricity to homes and businesses.

"If we see a line go down or more electric use in one area, we can usually re-route that power and make sure it gets to that area, so when your looking at an electric system it's really only as strong as its weakest link," Kacprowicz said. "We're constantly looking at the electric load to see where the electricity is being used and how much is being used."

To ensure transferring one line to another circuit or bringing in a new circuit Kacprowicz said an electric system should never be running at 100 percent for flexibility purposes.

With the changes to come downtown Downing said he hopes it's for the best.

"We love living where we do here. So as long as it's within the city regulations with water use or electricity, we love to see the new stuff come up," Downing added.

More News

Grid
List
GARDEN CITY - An entire police department is out of a job Wednesday morning without notice. According to the... More >>
46 minutes ago Wednesday, November 14 2018 Nov 14, 2018 Wednesday, November 14, 2018 5:00:00 PM CST November 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – A new report from the Institute of International Education (IIE) found a decrease in the number of new... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, November 14 2018 Nov 14, 2018 Wednesday, November 14, 2018 1:54:00 PM CST November 14, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY – The Boone County Sheriff’s Department has been working on a new computer system to better report hate... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, November 14 2018 Nov 14, 2018 Wednesday, November 14, 2018 1:40:00 PM CST November 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Columbia Police and the Boone County Sheriffs Department served three federal search warrants at businesses and residents in... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, November 14 2018 Nov 14, 2018 Wednesday, November 14, 2018 1:32:00 PM CST November 14, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY - A Boone County fire official said the impacted area of I-70 might not fully open until late... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, November 14 2018 Nov 14, 2018 Wednesday, November 14, 2018 1:12:00 PM CST November 14, 2018 in Top Stories
MONROE COUNTY - The Missouri State Highway Patrol's Troop B found Raffaella M. Stroik dead in Mark Twain Lake on... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, November 14 2018 Nov 14, 2018 Wednesday, November 14, 2018 12:14:00 PM CST November 14, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - A Columbia woman is celebrating after winning a $64,000 jackpot. Penny McNear stops at Moser’s Foods on... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, November 14 2018 Nov 14, 2018 Wednesday, November 14, 2018 11:22:00 AM CST November 14, 2018 in Top Stories
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is planning to support the first major rewrite of the nation’s... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, November 14 2018 Nov 14, 2018 Wednesday, November 14, 2018 11:07:15 AM CST November 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The community will get a chance to learn more about autism Wednesday morning. The annual Columbia Autism... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, November 14 2018 Nov 14, 2018 Wednesday, November 14, 2018 4:08:00 AM CST November 14, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Columbia plow drivers will be participating in the annual dry snow run to practice routes for the upcoming... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, November 14 2018 Nov 14, 2018 Wednesday, November 14, 2018 3:54:00 AM CST November 14, 2018 in Top Stories
BOSTON (AP) - World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) today revealed its nominees for the “10 Worst Toys of... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, November 13 2018 Nov 13, 2018 Tuesday, November 13, 2018 7:54:00 PM CST November 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Almeta Crayton Community Program will be expanding its annual "Everybody Eats" Thanksgiving community to more locations. ... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, November 13 2018 Nov 13, 2018 Tuesday, November 13, 2018 7:24:00 PM CST November 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia is delivering an annual citizen’s survey to a random sample of households. The... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, November 13 2018 Nov 13, 2018 Tuesday, November 13, 2018 6:58:00 PM CST November 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Ryan Howard, a University of Missouri senior, is getting ready to head home for Thanksgiving break. But, his... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, November 13 2018 Nov 13, 2018 Tuesday, November 13, 2018 6:29:00 PM CST November 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Tuesday night a Columbia committee rejected the Kroenke Group's attempt for a city code variance at the former... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, November 13 2018 Nov 13, 2018 Tuesday, November 13, 2018 4:10:00 PM CST November 13, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker says her office will not prosecute most marijuana possession cases.... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, November 13 2018 Nov 13, 2018 Tuesday, November 13, 2018 3:19:43 PM CST November 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – After several years of legal battles that culminated in $884,000 worth of legal fees, Trinity Lutheran Church celebrated... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, November 13 2018 Nov 13, 2018 Tuesday, November 13, 2018 1:46:00 PM CST November 13, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Two men were arrested and charged with second-degree burglary and stealing from Lange Middle School in Columbia. ... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, November 13 2018 Nov 13, 2018 Tuesday, November 13, 2018 1:29:00 PM CST November 13, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 31°
6pm 31°
7pm 29°
8pm 28°
9pm 27°