The city has proposed spending $64.5 million on water and sewer projects next year.
The bulk of the spending and focus will be on the reconstruction of the sewage-treatment plant in Santa Rita Park next year, City Manager Ron LeBlanc said.
But the city’s needs to set aside millions of dollars for other needed upgrades Utilities Director Steve Salka told the Durango City Council on Tuesday.
The city would like to prepare for a new water-treatment plant near Lake Nighthorse, replace sewer and water mains. Also, more projects are proposed.
Water and sewer rates are expected to increase by 10 percent in 2017 to help pay for all the new infrastructure.
On average, a resident can expect to spend about $40 per month for water and $48 per month for sewer, according to city estimates.
Next year’s rate increases are expected to be the final year in a series of large annual water and sewer rate increases. The city expects to make only incremental annual increases after that.
“You, or your successors, will have the resources you need,” Councilor Dick White told Salka.
One of the largest upcoming expenses will be new $55 million water-treatment plant below Lake Nighthorse. This is not slated for completion until next year because city residents must first give voter approval for the work.
But to prepare for the plant, the city would like to spend $400,000 in 2017 on 200 feet of pipe and related infrastructure directly below the lake.
The cost of this pipe may be shared with other water agencies and Native American tribes that plan to use the water.
City staff is also planning to replace a water pipeline below College Drive for $100,000 before any potential paving or proposed median construction happens.
To better track water usage, the city plans to spend $600,000 on upgraded technology that will collect data from individual meters and allow the city to detect leaks. With this technology the city will be able to quickly notify residents about problems.
The city also plans to put in two sewer lines near Roosa Park because the current line failed in 2012, and it has a high flow at all times of day, Salka said.
“It needs to be done or we’re going to have another catastrophic failure,” he said.
Additionally, to handle new homes at Twin Buttes, the city plans to put in a new sewer line along U.S. Highway 160 for about $400,000 in 2017. The multi-year project is estimated to cost about $1 million.