In case you missed it, Avista announced this week that it has settled its rate case with the Public Utilities Commission and will increase rates by 5.3% effective March 1 (effectively increasing annual billed revenues by 4.9%). Avista had been seeking a 9.3% increase. (Click here
for the Avista news release.) The average residential customer will see their monthly bill increase by $3.23. The City spends about $35,000 annually on natural gas, so this rate increase will cost us about $1,750 per year.
Crews from the Public Works Wastewater Collections Division this week began repairing a manhole at the corner of Maple St. and North Main. The first step is to saw cut the asphalt, which was done Thursday morning. Actual removal of the asphalt and removal of the old manhole is scheduled to start on Monday. The old manhole should be removed and the new one installed by the end of the day Tuesday. If anything unexpected is encountered it is possible for work to continue into Wednesday.
Over time, the condition of the mortar inside sewer manholes declines, potentially allowing groundwater to penetrate. In a worst case scenario this can cause system blockages or sinkholes. This manhole was originally built from brick and mortar in 1911 and has recently degraded to the point of requiring replacement before system damage or sinkholes occur.
Replacing a manhole is nothing new for us, in a typical year the Collections Division will replace ten or more manholes. What makes this one unique is the location. This manhole is located in the northbound lane of North Main and traffic will have to be diverted around it. Heading north, left turns onto Maple St. will not be allowed while work is in progress. This is the primary route to the hospital so Public Works has been working with the Fire Department to ensure the ambulances are aware of this situation and can take an alternate route.
The purpose of manholes in the collections (sewer) system is to provide an access point for cleaning, inspections and maintenance. Every year the Collections Division cleans the entire collections system using specialized “jet rodding” equipment; essentially a very large-scale pressure washer capable of cleaning the inside of the pipes with water pressure at volume of up to 2,500 psi and 80 gallons per minute. This cleaning is necessary to eliminate any debris that could cause a backup. Last year the four-person Collections Division crew cleaned 579,650 feet of sewer pipe. They also inspected the inside of the collections system using a closed circuit television (CCTV) system. These inspections identify what sections need maintenance or repairs and this information is used to prioritize work schedules and repairs. These inspections are what identified this manhole as being in need of replacement. Last year we used the CCTV system to inspect 72,092 feet of sewer line. Last summer we replaced our very outdated CCTV system with a modern computer based system; with this new system we expect the amount of inspections we accomplish to increase significantly. A common issue we find when inspecting the collections system is root penetration. Tree roots can grow into the pipe and if left untreated they can grow enough to cause backups in the system. When we find this is occurring, we remove the tree root with our rodding equipment and apply a foaming agent to keep the roots from re-growing. The foam doesn’t hurt the tree in any way but it does prevent the root from growing back in that location. Last year we applied anti-root foam to 43,067 feet of sewer pipe.
The Police Department is working on an agreement with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team to jointly fund and run the You Have Options program. Detective Carrie Hull will still run the program but it is growing so fast that she needs full time assistance, which JCSO will provide, and SART will continue to help acquire grant funding for the program. The Chief is planning to bring an agreement to the Council at either the second meeting in February or the first meeting in March.
Three people were arrested for disorderly conduct after getting into a fight in front of Pioneer Hall on Thursday while waiting to get into the Thursday night winter shelter. All three are familiar to APD and were lodged at the jail. One person had some minor injuries consistent with being in a fight but did not require medical attention. Officer Matt Carpenter, who responded to the call, isn’t sure what precipitated the fight. It appears to be a personality conflict.
Following is an entry made into APD’s performance tracking system this week;
Entered by Deputy Chief Warren Hensman (51271) on 1/20/2015
APD Case #14-2582
Jason: I wanted to commend you for the way you handled this investigation. You could have easily sent it back to detectives, however decided instead to run with it. By doing so, you showed the tenacity of a seasoned investigator, following up on ALL you could. You ultimately resolved the investigation by arrest - charging two people for the theft and sale of a cell phone.
(note: Jason is Officer Jason Daoust)
January 16, 2015