The Superior Express -

Waste treatment plant surprised with arrival of plastic pipe piece


March 30, 2023

Information provided the Superior City Council this week contains good news for Superior Utility customers.

The utility department has begun to review rates in advance of preparing the 2024 rate proposals.

The electric utility is no longer being supplied by the Nebraska Public Power District and is paying less for electricity obtained from AEP. NextEra is now the city’s capacity provider. Andrew Brittenham, utility manager, said these changes have resulted in a significant reduction in fixed costs. This saving is beng used to offset the inflated market conditions and material costs. At this time, the electric utility does not project it will be necessary to increase the customers’ base rates.

Natural gas is tracking in the correct direction and there is hope customer rates will not have to be increased.

The water utility is still out of balance and a 3.5 percent rate increase may be needed. A 2 percent rate increase is anticipated for the wastewater utility.

Brittenham cautioned the projections were being made early and could change before rates are finalized later this year.

There are always surprises with the operation of the utility system. One of those surprises came on March 14 when a large piece of PVC pipe entered the headworks of the wastewater treatment plant and damaged the inlet grinder.

The grinder acts as a shredder to break up material entering the plant and protect downstream pump.

The pipe locked up the grinder and took out several grinder teeth. Although plant workers were able to free the unit and get it back into operation, it has a diminished capability. The damaged part can not be repaired and will have to be relaced.

The council approved a contract for the improvement of the electric utilities west backbone. The system improvement plan calls for three backbones (connections) between the city’s two substations. The first two backbones are completed. This contract will complete the first phase of the third backbone. Should there be an emergency, the changes approved Monday will allow for the easier shifting of load and hopeful minimize any downtime.

The city has in stock the needed supplies and Monday the council awarded a contract to Great Plains Power in the amount of $110,000 to install the equipment, The work planned for late summer or fall will take about one month to complete.

As part of this year’s highway projects, the council approved a contract with Van Kirk Brothers Construction in the amount of $176,530 for the relocation of water mains along Highway 8.

The Idaho Street work will require changes to the natural gas distribution system, Monday the council accepted a bid from General Excavation in the amount of $640,209 to do the needed.

In both the water and natural gas projects the Nebraska Department of Transportation is expected to reimburse the city.

In preparation for the highway projects the state transportation department has given the City of Superior a 21-day window to repair a portion of Idaho Street near the intersection with Fourteenth Street. Last summer during the water main replacement project an unmarked water main was damaged beneath the south bound lane of Highway 14. The damage has resulted in a sink hole that has had to be patched every week or so.

The city now plans to close the south bound lane, excavate a rectangle of 8x12 feet, fill the excavation with filter stone and seal the angular voids with hydraulic cement overlaid with concrete. By doing so a large boulder will be created beneath the street. It will be necessary to reduce Bloom Street to one lane for about two weeks.

In other action the council approved proceeding with a promised Kottmeyer Business Park noise study promised as part of development of the Wildcat Blockchain facility. The study will provide information to be considered with a request to expand the Wildcat Blockchain development within the park. The study is expected to cost about $15,000.

Permission was given the Superior Elementary School to conduct both a one mile and a 5K run as part of the school’s fourth quarter family fun night planned for Thursday, April 13. The runners will begin near the tank in Lincoln Park, continue east past the football field to Park Street, turn left onto Eighth and reenter the park via Wildcat Drive. One lap will equal one mile and three laps will equal the 5K. The race will begin at 6:30 p.m.


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