CENTERFIELD—Centerfield City Council members have agreed to pitch in to help pay for a building at a sewage screening plant it shares with Gunnison City.
At a council meeting Wednesday July 6, Councilman Jon Hansen, said the $70,000 building was not in the original bid for upgrades to the joint Centerfield-Gunnison sewer system.
For several years, the two cities have seen many inorganic household items, in essence garbage, get into the system. So the cities undertook a project to put a screening drum in place that removes the garbage, enabling the system to operate at full efficiency.
Another problem was that when Centerfield’s sewage gets pumped through a pipe to where the Gunnison and Centerfield sewers meet, a backflow occurs up the Gunnison City sewer pipe. The influx of reversed sewage was throwing off the meter readings that measures the flow from each of the two cities.
So besides the screening drum, the towns put in a new meter, which measures the sewage flow velocity and levels with the aid of a laser, With installation of the new meter, the readings started to be accurate.
The screening system combined with the laser meter cost more than $500,000, according to Garrick Willden of Jones & Demille Engineering, consulting engineer for the sewer work.
Considering that cost, “the cities wanted to protect the system as much as possible, so we have agreed to put a building over the system,” Hansen said.
Willden said all of the sewer system upgrades, including the building, are now complete. All of the bills have been paid by Gunnison City.
The two cities have agreed to cover the cost of the project based on how much each contributes to the overall flow of sewage. Gunnison is now seeking reimbursement from Centerfield of Centerfield’s share of those costs, which is estimated to be about $116,000, including the building.
Hansen told the council that some time back, Gunnison City and Willden had a discussion, which resulted in the engineering firm issuing change a order to the original sewer project to add the building to the project. But Centerfield City was never notified about and never signed off on the change order.
Regardless of not signing off on the change order, Hansen said that he was okay with Centerfield paying for its share of the building.
He said that there were other things Gunnison City had been doing to take care of the sewer ponds, including adding chemicals to the system to keep it flowing properly.
“They have spent about $2,400 every six months, so we probably need to pick up our share in this (the building),” he said.
Mayor Travis Leatherwood said that the data on Centerfield’s vs. Gunnison’s flow into the system isn’t complete, due to equipment being stolen. The data that was collected only covered November 2019 to March of 2020.
Based on that data, Gunni- son accounted for 82% of the flow rate, while Centerfield’s share was only 18%.
“Gunnison is waiting on one more part and then we will be up to a year of metering,”the mayor said.
Nonetheless, the city council agreed to pay $116,000 and some change, the current estimate of its share of the total project. Once there has been a full year of metering, there is the possibility of a reimbursement of any overpayment.
Also, at the council meeting the question came up of whether the city had heard from the Utah Division of Water Rights on the objection to its petition to purchase additional rights for culinary water.
Hansen said that he had asked Wilden, but Willden hadn’t heard anything yet. Lacey Belnap, city recorder, said that she had reached out to city attorney Kevin Daniels, and he also had not received an answer.
Both Daniels and Wilden said they would be reaching out within the week to see if any progress had been made.