Plummer sewer work

Crews in Plummer work to install new drainage lines on Eleventh Street. The city has struggled to control excess infiltration and inflow into its sewer system. A problem at least partially attributable to aging infrastructure.

The lowest bid for the Plummer sewer plant equalization basin was $125,000 over the cost the Coeur d’Alene Tribe anticipated.

The basin, a plastic lined pond, will hold excess sewage when the sewer treatment plant is over capacity.

The Tribe agreed to construct the basin on their land and lease its use to the city of Plummer.

According to Plummer City Clerk Sara Allen, Indian Health Service has secured an additional $81,250 and the city agreed to invest $30,000. However, that still leaves a shortage of $13,750.

“The Tribe is waiting to get 100 percent or get confirmation from Tribal Council for $13,750,” Ms. Allen said.

The city has now spent $32,500 on the project when including a fine paid to the EPA.

“We paid $2,500 in EPA fines last year or the year before,” Ms. Allen said.

The $2,500 fine could have been $200 million had it not been for reaching an agreement to develop the equalization basin.

An additional $43,000 will be paid by the city to match a grant from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

The grant funds will be used to locate and curb excess inflow and infiltration of water into the city sewer system.

Engineers will use cameras to locate infiltration points. However, the project is on hold, until at least this fall, due to scheduling conflicts with the contractor according to Ms. Allen.

For now, the city intends to address some previously identified infiltration points.

“We’re going to do some of the smaller projects that the guys know are for sure leaking that we can do ourselves without having to bring a contractor in,” Ms. Allen said.

City council is developing a storm drain ordinance as well.

“We’re working on an ordinance, with our attorney, because some of the [inflow and infiltration] problems might be coming from people’s homes,” Ms. Allen said.

There is no set deadline for completion of the sewer projects or an enactment of the ordinance.

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