Official: The Multi Billion Dollar Omaha Utility Project

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Official: The Multi Billion Dollar Omaha Utility Project

Postby icejammer » Fri May 19, 2006 11:56 am

Official: The Billion Dollar Omaha Sewer Seperation Project

Billions down city's drains?

Omaha is preparing for a massive overhaul of its sewer system that could cost billions. That's right: billions.

The project is intended to bring Omaha into compliance with federal environmental laws.

The study - just the study - to help Omaha plan the project comes with a jaw-dropping price tag of $24.7 million.


Estimated price range of ½-3 billion dollars.  I'd guess somewhere on the high side of that range.

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Postby MTO » Fri May 19, 2006 12:08 pm

I hope this also eliminates the stank coming from some of these sewers.
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Brad
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Postby Brad » Fri May 19, 2006 1:09 pm

I had family in from LA last summer and they said they noticed a "smell" downtown.
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Postby Big E » Fri May 19, 2006 1:15 pm

Oh man... the sewers on the north side of 11th and Howard sometimes just reek of death, plague and general evil. And no, it's not the horses.

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Postby MTO » Fri May 19, 2006 2:00 pm

I can think of about 5 oder zones in DTO that should be evacuated.
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Postby Harpoon » Fri May 19, 2006 9:47 pm

It's about time this issue was addressed. This is long overdue and well worth the money spent completing it. Once they are done, the city will only have to treat the sewage, not all of the stormwater as well.

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Postby Moovedtoomaha » Fri May 19, 2006 9:57 pm

I can smell it down town. And elsewhere in the city - including here in Dundee at certain times and in certain places. It's horrible! I am glad the city us finally moving to remedy this!

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Postby Big E » Fri May 19, 2006 10:04 pm

"It's a shocking number," Fahey said. "But given the scope of the study and what other cities have paid . . . it is within the ballpark."


Veiled reference to a new $4 billion Creighton/Royals stadium? :D

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Postby adam186 » Sat May 20, 2006 1:23 am

Haha, the taco bell in Millard reeks to heck in the drive thru, and it's not the food. :D

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Postby Uffda » Sat May 20, 2006 7:21 am

Company hires ex-official, gets contract




After retiring as one of Omaha's top public works officials, Bob Sink was hired by the national engineering and construction consulting company CH2M Hill.

Just a few weeks later, city officials selected CH2M Hill to receive a $24.7 million public works contract to help plan the city's overhaul of its combined sewer system.


http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_pg=1636&u_sid=2174245

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Postby eomaha » Sat May 20, 2006 9:17 am

Wow... this may present real problems for future capital improvement spending. This could be like our 'big dig'. :shock:

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Postby DTO Luv » Sat May 20, 2006 7:52 pm

I noticed it smelled around 13th and Jackson last Thursday night. As the night went on it diminished but I don't remember it really smelling there before.
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Postby guy4omaha » Sun May 21, 2006 9:31 am

I have lived here a lot of years and have never noticed the smell. Well except for that Taco Bell in Millard.

Actually, I have the nose equivalent to the ears of a deaf person. I just can't smell stuff. Yeah I know: Too Much Information.
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Postby eomaha » Sun May 21, 2006 9:42 am

It's there... especially right next to the Embassy Suites Hotel.

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Postby MTO » Sun May 21, 2006 11:28 am

^ Oh yeah I remember that one. It was the annex night we parked there and I almost punched DTO thinking it came from him. If you park there you WILL regret it..
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Postby Harpoon » Sun May 21, 2006 10:31 pm

You know when you see steam coming from the sewers during the winter time? Yeah, that's not from melting snow entering the storm drains...

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Postby Finn » Mon May 22, 2006 11:53 am

Most cities have some combined sewer systems, especially older cities on the East Coast. This will be costing alot of money throughout the nation, so I expect a staggerd compliance period stretching further into the future. Omaha was supposed to have started on this several years back, but I think the convention center/arena delayed it by diverting the funding. So, if some work was planned, why do we need a whole new $25 million study? It will be worth it in the end, but I have never thought there was a constant or horrible stench.

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Postby MTO » Mon May 22, 2006 12:02 pm

So it will help on the environmental front and eliminate the stench. Is there any other things we will notice?
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Postby omahastylee459 » Mon May 22, 2006 12:14 pm

they might as well fix saddle creek while theyre at it

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Postby MTO » Mon May 22, 2006 12:38 pm

Thats a good point. According to my scientist friend who works at UNMC Saddle Creek is a done deal.:
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Postby icejammer » Mon May 22, 2006 12:43 pm

Finn wrote:So, if some work was planned, why do we need a whole new $25 million study?


A good question. If memory serves me, the previous planned work didn't cover as large an area as proposed now and it was primarily in response to areas with frequent sewer backup problems. But I think you're right in that much of that work was deferred because of other funding needs.

It's no small coincidence that the only three firms that bid on the study all had former high-ranking public works people involved.
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Postby adam186 » Mon May 22, 2006 1:47 pm

Finn wrote:but I think the convention center/arena delayed it by diverting the funding.

What kind of bonds did the city use for the Qwest Center? Would the funding for the sewers come by issuing general obligation bonds, guaranteed by the taxing power and the full faith and credit of the community that governments can raise fund for financing schools, street improvements, sewer installations, park developments, and other civic improvment projects? We were learning about bonds and other sources of funding projects last week and never got around to asking the instructor about this.

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Postby icejammer » Wed May 24, 2006 9:44 am

Sewer fix raises big questions

It was only an initial, relatively small, piece of the planned sewer system overhaul that the Omaha City Council approved Tuesday.

But the council members jumped on the opportunity to ask some big questions about an effort that could span decades and wind up costing billions of dollars.


Just funding the CH2M Hill study is expected to result in about a 10 percent sewer use fee increase, and the overall project is expected to have a much larger impact.

"This is a 500 million to a billion dollar gorilla that's coming," Brown said. "Other cities have tried to stop it. . . . It can't be stopped."
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Postby Swift » Wed May 24, 2006 1:23 pm

Instead of spending so much to fix the sewer system, we should just convince everyone to become vegetarian and drink lots of green tea (green tea helps kill bacteria in the stomach that causes flatulence).

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Postby Finn » Wed May 24, 2006 1:53 pm

Your pipes aren't what we are worried about! :D

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Postby Big E » Wed May 24, 2006 2:11 pm

Was it J talking about how we (americans) were going to be fixing our sewers while the Chinese are colonizing Mars?

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Postby cdub » Wed May 24, 2006 6:06 pm

It may also be done with revenue bonds from the sewer fees, which, by the way may go up A LOT, and not just for those adjacent to these problem sewers. :)

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Postby Asten » Wed May 24, 2006 9:56 pm

I wrote the city about this, years and years ago, in high school. The stench that would waft around downtown, particularly on 10th street. I got a nice handcrafted response as to why it stunk (which i didn't know at the time) and that they couldn't afford to fix it. So they were treating it with both an air freshener and some organic stuff to kill the bacteria. It's definitely less of a problem than it was when I was a kid, though.

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Postby Brad » Tue Jun 12, 2007 7:29 am

Separate sewers may be only a pipe dream for east Omaha

http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=2 ... id=2400410

Homeowners in eastern Omaha have complained for years about sewage overflows into their basements.

The city is undertaking the reconstruction to comply with the federal Clean Water Act. The project could cost as much as $3 billion.

"It's easy to think that it's a 'gimme' that we'll separate sewers," said Marty Grate, environmental services manager for the City of Omaha. "But it's not as simple as saying the areas with the worst backup problems are going to be obvious sewer separation areas."

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is pressuring Omaha to do something because human waste and storm runoff are channeled through the same sewers in the eastern half of the city.

Anytime Omaha receives more than 0.10 inch of rain, which is about 50 times a year, raw sewage overflows into local creeks and the Missouri River.

Based on costs in other cities, Omaha will have to spend an estimated $500 million to $3 billion to comply with the law.

Grate said tearing up streets to accomplish full sewer separation in central and eastern Omaha would be costly and too disruptive.

Instead, sewer separation will be one part of the solution in the older parts of town. Other likely measures include building sewage treatment plants and constructing large sewage holding tanks or tunnels.
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Postby Asten » Tue Jun 19, 2007 9:27 pm

Speaking of the runoff tunnels - Chicago has this largely unknown system to handle too much stormwater that some of you might find interesting.

http://www.chipublib.org/digital/sewers/history5.html

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Postby Coyote » Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:29 am

[font=Georgia]Omaha's sewer fix to cost $1.5 billion[/font]

Omaha World Herald wrote:It will cost an estimated $1.5 billion to overhaul a big part of the city's sewer system to comply with federal rules, city officials told The World-Herald last week. By 2017, the average homeowner could be paying annual sewer fees of $600 a year. For perspective, that would be more than the city's current share of property tax for a $100,000 home. The biggest bills will affect people all over the metro area, from Omaha to Bennington to Bellevue.
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Postby Brad » Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:40 am

Sewer meeting overflows: 200 pack cafeteria

http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=2 ... d=10115150

It's not every day that a public meeting on the city's sewer system draws an overflow crowd.

But that was the case Thursday night. About 200 people packed the cafeteria at the Omaha Public Schools headquarters to hear a presentation on the city's $1.5 billion plan to overhaul the sewer system to meet federal clean water requirements. Organizers scrambled to find more chairs.

Some people came armed with questions about the cost of the plan, while others wanted to know about the environmental impact, or the implications for their neighborhoods.

But most people came to the meeting simply to learn more about the project that Mayor Mike Fahey called one of the most significant in the history of the city.

That was the case for Dennis Young, a northeast Omaha resident who was pleased to see that his area is slated to have its combined sewer separated.

"I just wanted to see what we are getting for our $1.5 billion investment," Young said. "(The plan) seems to make sense. It's very long-range."
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Postby Brad » Thu Nov 29, 2007 4:11 pm

Add another Billion!

Might as well throw the street car tracks in while they are at it!

Water, gas repairs will hit Omahans

http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=1 ... d=10196969

Omaha-area residents reeling from the projected $1.5 billion tab to fix the city's sewer system might want to sit down.

The Metropolitan Utilities District faces hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to improve its natural gas and water system, and a $1 billion price tag is possible.

Natural gas and water bills would begin rising in January to pay for the work, assuming the MUD board approves the plan next week.

So far, the utility is saying only that the first five years of work would cost about $112 million. Beyond, that, no cost estimates are available, said MUD President Tom Wurtz.

However, asked if $1 billion in costs was possible, Wurtz said yes.

"It's possible," he said. "The numbers are the numbers."

The utility and the city plan to work in tandem. The utility plans to replace gas and water mains wherever the city tears up streets to fix sewers.
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Postby Stargazer » Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:01 am

It would be nice if we could get in on some of the billions which are expected to be doled out by the feds to help subsidize the costs of this.

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Postby j4nu » Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:02 pm

Stargazer wrote:It would be nice if we could get in on some of the billions which are expected to be doled out by the feds to help subsidize the costs of this.


That would be excellent.  Along these same lines, I saw where Crystal Rhoades, one of the people in the running for Vokal's seat is pushing for a policy to keep the work with local firms.  That way we at least keep at least of the the money in the city in the form of income taxes etc.

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Postby UNOstudent » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:05 pm

NETV2, Cox channel 16, will air a documentary 'Our Water Our Future' about the sewer separation on Saturday, the 7th at 7pm. It will also replay at 1pm on Sunday, the 8th.

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Postby Brad » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:32 am

Omaha sewer project to get stimulus funds

http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=2 ... d=10578397

Martha Stoddard on http://www.omaha.com wrote:LINCOLN — The federal stimulus package will give a $3.75 million boost to Omaha’s sewer separation project.

Gov. Dave Heineman announced today that half of the money will be provided as a low-interest loan and half as a grant. It will be matched with a $3.75 million low-interest loan from a state revolving loan fund.

The Omaha project is just one of several water-related projects that will benefit from the federal stimulus funds.

Nebraska is expected to get about $21 million for priority improvements to wastewater treatment facilities and another $19.5 million for upgrades to public drinking water systems.
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Postby S33 » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:42 am

Any word on contractors who will be bidding for this job? Hopefully it stays local.

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Postby windsor » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:13 pm

I believe they have already started carving out the big tunnel for this project so the contractor information may be listed on the city website somewhere.
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Postby icejammer » Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:45 am

Omaha's sewer bond rating: AA

Omaha's sewer bond rating has been upgraded due in part to higher service fees being charged to consumers. . . .

Omaha faces a federally mandated sewer improvement project, estimated to cost $1.7 billion. . . .

. . . the new rating will mean $2 million in annual savings . . . .


Whoa, saving $2 million a year, but the estimated cost has gone up another $200 million......
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