By Bob Balgemann


It took the city’s Public Works Director, Brent Anderson, about one hour to go through his department’s proposed 2018-19 budget. That’s because the new spending plan is multifaceted and in the new year will have some projects that need to be accomplished in an effort to alleviate recurring flooding problems around town.

Alderman Marsha Freeman posed a leading question during the Feb. 12 Committee of the Whole meeting when she asked how long it would take “before enough work is done to get some relief to this (Wycliffe) area?”

Expansion of the Wycliffe lift station is part of the Sewer Department budget, under the public works umbrella.

Director Anderson said $500,000 had been plugged in for those improvements, which he hoped would be accomplished during the upcoming construction season that extends into November.

That expansion was termed “interim,” with more improvements being needed, as there is additional development in that area, he said.

The committee, in a unanimous voice vote, recommended approval of spending $36,500 for the engineering firm of C.E.S. Inc. in Belvidere, to design improvements that will increase the capacity of the Wycliffe lift station to pump a peak flow of 3,200 gallons per minute into the sanitary sewer plant.

Alderman Tom Porter asked if the city had to solicit bids for that work?

“You can’t bid out engineering services,” Anderson replied. “They are based on qualifications. The reason C.E.S. was chosen was because they did the original design work on this (lift station). Other expansions will be done by C.E.S. as well.”

A recent study by the civil engineering firm of Baxter & Woodman, Crystal Lake, determined sewage backups into some Wycliffe basements, during a severe rainstorm last summer, was caused by high wet water flows into the treatment plant, Anderson said.

Expansion of the Wycliffe lift station will cost an estimated $732,000. When that is finished the equipment “will be able to handle high wet weather events,” the director said.

On another related subject, he said infiltration and inflow (I&I) improvements will be ongoing as the city attempts to reduce the inflow of ground water into the sanitary sewer treatment plant. During that big storm of 2017, he said the inflow was 16 million gallons, compared with the usual daily flow of four million gallons.

“We know it’s ground water,” he said. “It happened in all systems and you can’t stop it entirely, but you can control it.” Major I&I work hasn’t been done since 1985, he added.

In the 2018-19 fiscal year, which begins May 1, he said the city plans to set aside $100,000 for related improvements. “Right now we’re working on a section of line on the south side of town, where we did some visual inspections after rains we had and found some manholes with large amounts of infiltration going into them. We’re putting a program together to get them sealed up. I&I will work on an annual basis as we identify those areas.”

He said the $100,000 allocation will not affect the department’s

For complete article, pick up the March 4 Belvidere Daily Republican.