Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project – Phase 1

Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation Project – Phase 1

MSA Professional Services, the City’s engineering consultant, advised that they held a meeting with Hagerty Excavating on February 25 to discuss the exploratory excavation bid item which has resulted in a project bid in excess of what was originally budgeted for this project. Mr. Hagerty explained why he did not believe the bid item was unbalanced. These resons include conflicting record drawing informatoin, the depth of the existing sanitary sewer, limited knowledge of the location of existing laterals, existing overhead lines, buried gas line on top of the sewer line, etc.

After some discussion, Mr. Hagerty indicated he would think over his sub-contractor proposal with Visu-Sewer and report back to them. 

MSA followed up with Visu-Sewer on March 3. At that time, Hagerty Excavating had not yet discussed a modified proposal with Visu-Sewer. In the meantime, MSA evaluated th eposibiltiy of abandoning as many of the sanitary sewers in this area as possible. However, after subsequent conversations with Sivyer Steel, it became obvious that in order to adequately serve Sivyer Steel, this was not a possible solution.

MSA had further discussions with Visu-Sewer about the possiblitiy of lining these sanitary sewers. Visu-Sewer indicated they will review this optino and get back to MSA by March 9, 2020.

MSA Professional Services, the City’s engineering consultant, advised that they have discussed this proejct with Visu-Sewer and their sub-contractor, Hagerty Excavating. At the time of the report, MSA had scheduled a meeting with Hagerty Excavating for Tuesday, February 25 at 11am at the project site. 

Chris Cooper (MSA) reported at the Council meeting that the on-site get together with the sub-contractor did not result in any immediate reductions in projected costs because there were too many unknown factors, but that the contractor and their sub would take a second look at their estimated price and try to find ways to reduce it.

MSA explained their position to Visu-Sewer, that at this time, they (MSA) believed the bid on the project to be un-balanced. Any information that can be provided by Visu-Sewer and their sub-contractor would be helpful for MSA to then respond with more detail to help lessen the ambiguity and allow the contractor to re-bid line item 12 in their proposal.

MSA Professional Services, the City’s engineering consultant, advised that they submitted a “Notice of Intent” to award this project to Visu-Sewer with teh reqeust they enter into a good faith dialogue to discuss methods to reduce inflow into the sanitary sewer that runs along the west side of Bellingham Roadway.

Ideas being discussed include lining the sanitary sewer as well as putting a cap on the number of hours the excavator utilizes to look for santiary laterals.

The City Council approved the low bid on this project of $160,921.50 from Visu-Sewer, Inc. The approved bid is nearly $50,000 more than the estimated price – primarily due to estimated costs for exploratory investigation of sanitary sewer lateral lines off of Bellingham Road. 

MSA recommended approving the bid and then continuing to negotiate alternative methods of investigating/dealing with the sewer lines off of Bellingham Road that, if approved, will reduce the total project price to bring it more in line with the initial project estimate.

MSA Professional Services reported to the City Council that the bid opening for this project occured on January 21 at 2pm (as scheduled), but the low bid was significantly higher than MSA’s budgeted construction costs of $116,800.

The reason for the cost variance was related to the exploratory excavation for sanitary laterals located near Bellingham Road. MSA advised the Council that the firm would continue exploring ways to proceed with an award and simultaneously lower the project cost without committing any bidding violations.

As things currently stand, the work is still expected to take place this summer.

According to MSA Professional Services, the project has been advertised for bid. The public hearing is scheduled for January 14 at 7pm. A non-mandatory, pre-bid meeting has been held. 

The bid opening is scheduled for January 21, 2020 at 1:30 pm. MSA’s opinion of the probable cost of construction on thisp roject is $116,800.

The Riverdale City Council approved the preparation of plans and specs for bids in the coming months. The process will be overseen by MSA Professional Services as part of their contract with the City.

A copy of the resolution authorizing MSA to seek bids on the project can be found here.

This project is estimated to cost the City of Riverdale $116,800 and should be completed during the summer of 2020. Sanitary sewer work will be performed in the Havens Acres neighborhood and on Fenno and Valley Drives.

At a meeting held earlier in the day, MSA discussed the following items on this project with the City:

•    Plans, specifications and an engineer’s opinion of the probably construction cost have been submitted to the City for approval. The Iowa DNR has issued a permit for the project. A GP#2 permit is not required.

•    The City needs to schedule a public hearing for this project.

•    MSA recommends a winter 2020 bid letting.

MSA Professional Services reported to the City Council that they have obtained the project permit from Iowa DNR and now seeks bidding guidance from the City on this project.

MSA Professional Services reported to the City Council that they are currently working on a timeline for bidding this project with Administrator Tim Long.

MSA Professional Services reported to the City Council that they have applied for a project permit from the Iowa DNR so work can begin this spring. The project is currently in the cue for bidding in January of 2020.

Project Details:

Scope of Work:

The sub-contractor will be expected to supply all labor, equipment and materials to seal and rehabilitate identified sanitary I&I points in the southern part of Riverdale.


$160,921.50 (may be revised downward)

Public Hearing Date


Project Bid Date:


Project Start Date:

June, 2020

Project Completion Date:

August, 2020




Percent Complete

Council to consider establishing a sewer commission for 2020

Council to consider establishing a sewer commission for 2020

In an October 17th memo to the City Council, mayor Mike Bawden, provided some initial thoughts on setting up a City Sewer Commission for 2020. The item is one of several slated for the COMMITTEE REPORTS section of next Tuesday’s City Council Meeting (to be held at 10/22/19).

Mike Bawden, Mayor of Riverdale

In the memo, Mayor Bawden, said the time was right to consider such a proposal, given the fact that the City of Riverdale is “fast approaching a point where we’ll have a good handle on the anticipated costs of infrastructure upgrades that will need to be made at the Waste Water Treatment Plant in West Davenport. That is the plant that services all of Riverdale’s sewage, which is conveyed to the plant through an extensive network of pipes running from Panorama Park through Riverdale and Bettendorf to Davenport.

The expected increase in costs to the City and the fact that rates have not been adjusted for quite some time mean sewer rates in Riverdale are likely to rise quickly and dramatically. The purpose of a City Sewer Commission, then, is to provide residents with an opportunity to participate in the conversations and decision-making process when it comes to building, maintaining and paying for the system.

Sewer Rates are Expected to Rise in 2020

With the memo specifically mentioning rates, Mayor Bawden provides the following information:

The City of Riverdale’s rates have not been adjusted in many years, resulting in on-going losses in the City’s Sewer Fund. Infrastructure repairs need to be paid from this fund, as well, and this past year, the Council had to move money from our General Fund to the Sewer Fund to cover that expense. While this is allowable (and we had the cash to do it), in the future, we may need to issue bonds to cover infrastructure repairs/enhancements deemed necessary by the Council.

Commission Structure and Responsibilities

According to Mayor Bawden, the Sewer Commission would be designed to operate in a manner very similar to the City’s Planning & Zoning Commission:

Much like the Planning & Zoning Commission, the Sewer Commission would meet once a quarter in a public meeting (with a posted agenda and minutes) to hear presentations, conduct their deliberations, and vote on their recommendations. Official “actions” (e.g. authorizing expenditures, setting rates, etc.) would be taken by the City Council using the research and recommendations of the commission as an important source of information.


Every meeting held by the Sewer Commission would include, at a minimum, a financial report on the fiscal health of the sewer fund, a collections report identifying who is delinquent in paying their sewer fees, a projection of sewer fund viability at current/proposed rates, and appropriate monitoring reports on flow and other quality metrics deemed necessary by the commission.


The commission would be managed by a Sewer Commission Administrator (most likely the City Administrator) to make sure notices are posted and information is made available according to the State of Iowa’s Sunshine Laws. The chair of the commission would be expected to attend meetings of the Joint Sewerage Commission – the 28E that’s being formed by Davenport, Bettendorf, Riverdale and Panorama Park to oversee the operation of the 1973 Trunk Line, the Waste Water Treatment Plant and the Compost Facility.

So, what do you think of this idea? Let us know in the comments section, below …

Sewer rates expected to rise in 2020.

Sewer rates expected to rise in 2020.

City officials have been telling Riverdale residents their sewer rates are unrealistically low for over two years. And now, after years of discussion and planning, costs for the shared sewer line running from Panorama Park to West Davenport have been determined by a joint body representing all of those communities.

That means the City of Riverdale can now re-set its sewer rates for residents to reflect the actual costs of belonging to this common utility.

While rates are expected to be re-set significantly higher than they have been in Riverdale, it’s expected that the rates will still be at or below rates for homeowners in Bettendorf or Davenport. Rates in Riverdale are currently as much as 80% lower than costs experienced by some Davenport homeowners.

So why has it taken Riverdale so long to re-set its rates?

There are two big factors that affect Riverdale residents’ sewer rates: determining how much of Riverdale’s “flow” is the result of commercial activity from Arconic and finalizing the cost of improvements to the jointly-owned waste water treatment plant required by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). That information now appears to be at-hand and negotiations with the IDNR to extend performance deadlines have also helped reduce costs to a degree.

The City’s plan, as it currently stands, is to start re-working calculations for sewer rates to reflect the current flow rates, planned improvements/upgrades to the City’s sewer lines (to reduce “inflow & infiltration” and, thereby decreasing flow to lower costs), and projected capital improvements at the waste water treatment plant in West Davenport. Ideally, that work will involve the new City Treasurer (assuming a satisfactory candidate can be found expeditiously).

Once preliminary calculations are done, the City will host an open meeting with the public to walk through the issues, process used to calculate the new sewer rates, projected effects of adding homes in the Woods Estates development and to solicit feedback.

There is no delay expected in first-quarter billing for 2020 at this time.