Extra funds pumped into infrastructure

The $1.5m upgrade of Rossi Pump station is due to be completed this week.“EVERY cent” of higher than expected water and sewer income collected by Council will be channelled back into infrastructure projects.

Financial reports for 2013/14 reveal that Council collected $705,000 more than anticipated in water user fees and $346,000 extra in sewer use charges.

Utilities director Grant Moller has acknowledged that estimating income was difficult given wavering demand.

But he recently told the Post that any extra money would be funnelled into much needed infrastructure upgrades.

The funds could be needed given several blowouts in projects.

Councillors recently agreed to allocate a further $60,000 the Bradley St Pump Station upgrade, originally estimated to cost $1.2 million.

In a report, staff said several “variations” had arisen during construction, which were deemed to be outside the contract’s original scope.

These included provision of a backup pump arrangement ($10,151), design and construction of a plug to seal water ingress ($27,388) and removal of sub grade soil and backfill (total $16,839).

“Variations to this level were not expected on a project like the Bradley St upgrade,” the report stated.

“On a Brownfield projects such as this there is always a high risk of varying a contract due to unknown circumstances.”

Councillors handed general manager Warwick Bennett authority to approve a maximum $126, 644 extra to the work.

The Sydney Catchment Authority is funding $750,000 of the project.

The 1917 pump station receives sewer flows from Eastgrove, the Recreation Area and parts of South Goulburn. But it is under capacity due to increasing development, causing it to overflow into the Mulwaree River in heavy rain.

The work is 80 per cent complete.

A filter upgrade at the water treatment plant is also causing financial headaches.

The original $1.6m project has blown out by just over $160,000. The gravity filters were almost 65 years old and had to be refurbished to improve the “quality and consistency” of filtered water, Mr Moller’s report stated. It would also allow flexibility following connection to the Highland Source pipeline.

Access to the internal filters for the first time in 46 years revealed a dividing wall needed to be replaced and internal walls required recoating.

Mr Moller anticipated even more money would be needed for the other three filters. He will present a separate report on this to Council before work begins.

The big ticket item is a $30m to $40m upgrade of the wastewater treatment plant at Bradfordville. The council is still trying to secure extra government funding for the project.

Mr Bennett previously said additional work to comply with “stringent” regulations in this part of the catchment would add $6m to $8m to the work.

He and Mayor Geoff Kettle have been meeting state ministers in an effort to offset the financial burden on ratepayers.

Elsewhere, a $1.5m upgrade of Rossi Pump station was due to be completed this week.

Some $300,000 in improvements to the Kenmore Bridge Pump Station are due to be finished in June.

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