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City sewer system construction to start in February

By Carol L. Smith

City of Bandera residents will soon see concrete proof that their stimulus tax dollars aren’t simply being flushed down the drain.

The city received a $250,000 Housing and Urban Development (HUD) stimulus grant that was funneled through the Texas Department of Rural Affairs. The grant funds will be utilized to repair main line sewer pipes on 12th and Oak streets, 12th and Main streets and also Cherry and Pecan streets. The City is contributing a 5 percent match to the funding for a total cost of $12,500.

The city expects that the construction will only take approximately 30 days, due to a special repair technique called “pipe bursting,” which allows the repairs to be made in place.
A strong steel wire rope cable is pulled through the sewer lateral between two points. A cone shaped bursting head is attached to the cable. A new polyethylene pipe is then attached behind the cone shaped bursting head.

At the other end, a hydraulic puller is placed which takes hold of the cable and pulls it with great force in a series of short strokes. Typically speeds are in the area of 10 to 15 miles per hour.

The cone shaped bursting head goes through the old sewer line expanding it over the cone until the old pipe bursts, creating room for the new high density polyethylene pipe (HDPE) to be pulled through the ground replacing the old pipe. Lengths of the HDPE pipe are joined together using a plastic welding process that creates a new, seamless, one-piece sewer line with no joints that can leak or be penetrated by roots.

Once the line is pulled through between the two holes the connection to the city sewer is re-established and the line has been replaced.

“This grant was received, in part, because we were able to prove a great benefit to the general population,” said City Administrator Gene Foerster. Wastewater and water grants are typically allotted every other year and this grant came in between the normal grant cycles. This will be the third time within Foerster’s tenure that repairs will be completed to the city sewer lines.

Additionally, the city has also applied for another $20,000 stimulus grant funneled through the State Energy Conservation Office from the State Comptroller’s Office.

This is an energy efficiency and conservation block grant available to cities. If the grant is funded it will be utilized to repair the municipal building’s aged roof. “Some cities didn’t meet the grant deadlines or requirements,” said Foerster, “ so they reallocated the funds and increased our portion to $23,000.”

The old shakes will be removed from the roof and the roof will be resealed. According to the grant application, Bandera Electric Cooperative estimated that the energy cost savings for the city will be over $400 per month.