By Chelsea Los
CROMWELL — Turkey Creek Regional Sewer District board of trustees got together several times during the past week — once to formally receive bids on the large Eastshore-Northshore sewer addition project, and again for the regular monthly meeting Monday, Sept. 20.
It’s not news the costs are up around the globe — labor shortages and material shortages have led to spiked costs everywhere. Still, the sticker shock from last week’s formal bids was real as the bids came in $1.5 million over budget.
The project is surging forward in several other areas, but the board will unfortunately need to consider rates for users may not be as low as they had hoped. Andy Boxberger, Carson LLP, reported to the group all easements had been obtained — a great piece of news after a long-winded chase for signatures. In anticipation of moving forward on the new sewers, Boxberger has continued to look into state funding and federal monies, including a request for more than $200,000 to completely repair roads instead of short-term patching. The board and Boxberger discussed a tentative meeting for Tuesday, Sept. 28, to review rates and how these will be affected.
The district is required to take the lowest of the only two bids they received, which feels easy to swallow considering both bids were within 1% of each other. Jeff Hersha, Jones & Henry, indicated major pipe suppliers are struggling to produce the smaller lines that will be needed by the district. There are several strikes against the district — area rates for TCRSD are significantly lower than surrounding districts and some of the lowest in the state which will almost immediately disqualify the district from State Revolving Fund or SWIF (State Water Infrastructure Fund) grants. Additionally, pipe suppliers are focusing on large-income projects like massive city infrastructures using much larger materials and creating urgency and priority.
As the district grows and changes, superintendent Tim Woodward has found small ways to keep his team focused on preventative maintenance and hands-on work. Lately, he has begun to outsource some smaller, time-consuming testing to free up time for the TCRSD crew. Woodward also shared his goal is to provide viable, affordable options to the customers while also meeting his requirement to provide sewers where needed. Woodward introduced a pipe fitting that creates a tight seal and prevents ground water from entering sewer lines, sharing he will require this for all new connections.
The extra fixture is just under $60 making it an affordable way to prevent additional issues. He is also putting together info on several pump suppliers to make sure property owners have choices on how to get connected when the time comes.
The district will meet again Monday, Oct. 18, for the next regular monthly meeting.