Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
The Utility Advisory Commission (UAC) met in city hall council chambers on May 11 and heard presentations on updated wastewater and electric Master Plans.

Wastewater Master Plan Update
Gonzalo Garcia, utilities director, told UAC members that the city was adopting a Capitol Improvement Element (CIE) which will be a component of the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
“It takes the comprehensive plan and looks at the future needs for the city. The document basically presents the capitol improvement projects in five year increments for a twenty year outlook,” said Garcia, “In order to prepare this document, we needed to update the Master Plans.”
HDR Engineering, Inc., utility facilities planning consultants, were at the meeting to present new analysis and recommendations.
In 2009, HDR was involved in developing the city’s wastewater master plan.
“Since that time a number of changes have occurred. The housing boom busted and caused a slowdown in development. Also the intermodal was a big piece of the 2009 plan, and that went a different direction. So it was important to come back and redo the evaluation based on what your current growth plan is for the city” said Amanda Bagwell, HDR project engineer.
Bagwell presented charts and maps detailing the city’s current collection system, potential bottlenecks and growth scenarios.
Growth projections were offered for short term-5 years, mid term-10 years and long term beyond ten years.
Short term growth is expected on the south and east sides of the city near I-35. Long term maps show Gardner growth areas extending north to 143rd Street and south to 199th.
Long term growth will demand improvements to existing infrastructure, construction of new lift stations and new wastewater treatment plants.
HDR offered alternative approaches and cost comparisons between the options.
Commission members had questions and discussion after the presentation. No action was taken.

Electric Master Plan Update
Garcia presented the plan to commission. He said that this master plan update is far from being a master plan.
“I did a fairly quick master plan to see if we’re going to be OK for the next five years, and we are”, Garcia said.
He gave a general overview of Gardner’s electrical system.
The service area is 9.6 square miles, which contains 4 miles of transmission line, 45 miles of overhead line and 97 miles of underground line. The city maintains 3 substations, a distribution building and an energy center/administration building.
There is also 1.3 miles of natural gas pipeline.
In 2006, Meers Engineering, Inc., was contracted to perform an electric master plan for 2007 to 2020.
Since then, new growth outside the existing city limits has been identified in the 2014 Gardner Comprehensive Plan and 2015 Growth Management Strategy documents.
The 2017 electric master plan update presented by Garcia considers if the existing electric infrastructure has the ability to serve the anticipated new demands.
From 2015 to 2016, there was a 4.61 percent increase in the energy purchased.
Garcia used charts and graphs showing projected peak and energy demand rates through 2040.
Staff offered three comments in conclusion:
1) that the current system has adequate capacity to serve expected electric demand through 2025.
2) After 2025, existing installations will need upgrades and a new substation will need to be installed south of I-35 on Cedar Niles Road.
3) A more detailed Electric Master Plan needs to be performed by 2020-2022 to validate the preliminary findings presented tonight.

Project Updates
Garcia reported that crews bored in a new three phase electric primary cable under N. Center St. for the Fountain Gate subdivision project.
Crews have replaced damaged underground streetlight cable on S. Gardner Rd.
Crews continue installing a new underground streetlight system from the 600 block of E. Main St. to S. Moonlight Rd.
Installation of a new 600 amp cable under Waverly Road near Substation #3 continues.
Crews replaced the fence around the Wal-Mart wastewater lift station which was damaged by high winds a couple of weeks ago.
A bad gear box and coupler in the plant grinder at Kill Creek Water Treatment Facility was removed and is awaiting replacement.
At Hillsdale Water Treatment Plant, new VFD pumps are being installed.
Over 24,000 feet of lines were inspected as part of sewer maintenance programs.