The final assessment of Talkeetna’s sewer and water system has been completed. Included is analysis of the functionality of the system, suggested improvements, and plans to make the system fiscally solvent.
In total, the assessment of the sewer and water system in Talkeetna is hundreds of pages. It was funded through a $100,000 grant from the state legislature at the request of local residents, including the Talkeetna Sewer and Water Advisory Board. CRW Engineering did the study, and looked at a number of areas.
Not much changed in the assessment of the system itself since the draft report was released in July. One interesting note has to do with the water treatment plant. The plant was not required until allowable levels of arsenic were dropped from 50 parts-per-million to 10 parts-per million. The increased cost of operating the plant is a major cost driver. The report says that arsenic levels are still too high to meet regulations, but that the region as a whole has seen shifts in levels of arsenic, with some of them dropping. If the base level of arsenic were to fall below 10 parts-per-million and stay there, it could be feasible to shut down the treatment plant.
Whether or not that happens in the future, the system is currently deep in the red. According to the study, the current annual deficit is likely to be over $100,000. If rates were to remain constant, that figure would grow due to inflation and other factors. As a result, the report suggests revenue increases of 13% per year for water and 6% for sewer for each of the next five years. The report notes that this would allow the system to break even on operations, but that more money would be needed to establish a reserve fund and for repair and replacement costs. (more…)