Project slated for this summer
By Angie Landsverk
Waupaca’s Lake Street project is expected to begin soon.
The project includes milling and paving from South Main to Berlin Streets and reconstruction and water main replacement on the portion of Lake Street from Fifth to Eighth streets.
When the common council met on April 18, it unanimously approved the bid of De Groot Inc., of Green Bay, in an amount not to exceed $290,000.
“The contractor is motivated to get going,” said Justin Berrens, the city’s director of public works.
The schedule will be determined during a pre-construction meeting, he said.
The work must be done in time for the Waupaca Area Triathlon, which is on Saturday, Aug. 19.
Access for local residents will be maintained throughout the project, and the detour route will be Main Street to Badger Street to School Street.
The project will include some sidewalk and curb and gutter replacement.
Several hydrants will be replaced.
There will also be improvements to the crosswalks at Lake and Berlin streets and Lake and Fifth streets.
The street’s water line, from Berlin to South Main streets, is a newer line.
Lake Street’s water line, between Fifth and Eighth streets, dates back to the 1930s.
Its four-inch water main does not meet today’s Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) standards.
This water line may also contain some lead components – possibly in the goosenecks, which start at the water main and are about two to three feet long.
DNR and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines are that when any part of a public service line is replaced, the private water lines up to the houses should also be replaced.
That is because the partial replacement of a lead service line may lead to elevated levels of lead.
Last month, during informational meetings about the project, the city recommended that private property owners in the section of Lake Street between Fifth and Eighth streets replace their water lines.
The Public Service Commission does not allow a public utility to pay for private expenses.
The part of the service line from the right of way to the house is the responsibility of the property owner.
Funds are being made available through the DNR to help cover the costs of these replacements, and the city of Waupaca is among the communities that applied for the Lead Service Line program funds.
However, the DNR will not award that funding until after June 30.
The city sought separate bids for the private project and received three bids.
Berrens estimated the cost for the replacement of a property owner’s line at $3,000.
The bids came in upward of $6,400 per service line, he told the council.
As a result, Berrens wants to delay that portion of the project until the city knows whether it will receive the DNR funds to reimburse property owners for the cost of replacing their private lines.
“The DNR cycle is different than ours,” he said. “I am not comfortable asking people to take that risk anymore.”
Berrens said there will now be a slight gap between when the public portion of the project takes place and the private part begins.
Some water testing is still planned during the city’s project, he said.
Berrens said he was a little surprised at how high the bids for the private project were.
“As we went through the project and in talking with the DNR officials and other municipalities, we learned the bid prices were coming in higher than expected,” he said. “We were one of the first communities trying to do this replacement at the same time as the project.”
Berrens said the city was planning the Lake Street project when it learned DNR funds were becoming available for private replacement in communities where water lines may contain some lead components.
“The city of Waupaca was one of the first that wanted to tie it into the public project,” he said. “We’re still eligible for the funding.”