Plan Commission gives nod to SWL&P plans to replace city water reservoirsPlans to replace two city water reservoirs to improve reliability and accommodate the expansion of the intersection at 18th Avenue East and East Second Street moved a step closer to reality.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Plans to replace two city water reservoirs to improve reliability and accommodate the expansion of the intersection at 18th Avenue East and East Second Street moved a step closer to reality.
Superior’s Plan Commission approved a special use permit to allow construction a new 1.5 million gallon above-ground reservoir in Superior’s East End. The project would replace a 300,000-gallon reservoir built in 1889; and a 1 million-gallon reservoir built in 1911.
It’s one of three permits the utility must possess to garner final approval of the project with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. In the next week, Superior Water, Light and Power meets with Wisconsin’s commerce and natural resources departments in an effort to get final approval for the project, said William Bombich, SWL&P’s manager of gas and water operations.
The goal is to start the project in mid-May with completion of the project slated for December, he said.
Bombich said the private utility would have liked to have waited a couple more years to move ahead with the project, expansion of the intersection adjacent to the company’s water treatment facility would have placed a turn lane over the smallest and oldest of the company’s two underground reservoirs.
The Department of Transportation and city of Superior intend to widen the intersection next year to add turn lanes. The road project was developed to accommodate truck traffic in the area.
The city approached SWL&P early in the planning process for the intersection expansion, said Jeff Vito, development and government affairs director for the city. He said the level of cooperation has been excellent and recommended approval of the permit.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission granted conditional approval last week, pending approval from the city, DOC and DNR.
The DNR requires new reservoirs to be above ground to lessen chances of groundwater infiltration. Five feet of SWL&P’s new reservoir will be below grade but the remainder will rise about 15 feet above ground. The exterior walls will have a decorative concrete finish similar to the adjacent water treatment plant, Bombich said.
The new reservoir will use ultraviolet light technology to kill most of the pathogens that could harm drinking water. Chlorine will be added to as the water is pumped through distribution mains but using ultraviolet light will allow the utility to reduce the use of chlorine and save cost, Bombich said.
The new reservoir will require higher rates to finance it, and a rate application is being prepared for submission to the PSC this summer, he said. Bombich didn’t know how large a request it would be at this time.