Without a doubt a municipality’s primary responsibility is public health and safety, and while many first think of police and fire, so much of public safety depends on the day-in and day-out services a city provides. Some are easily seen, like trash pick-up and parks maintenance, but others are less visible, such the infrastructure that provides water and sewer utility services.
Currently the City of St. Augustine has a number of critical utility projects underway that while not so visible are none the less important to the city’s public health, safety and quality of life.
One project that has been highly visible to most who travel to and through downtown is the work along Valencia St. from Riberia St. east to Cordova St. that started in December. The work includes new water services and sewer services, rehabilitation of the storm and sewer mains, refurbishing stormwater inlets and grates, replacing sidewalks and curbs, and milling and resurfacing of the street when complete.
The second phase of the project, the brick portion of Valencia St. between Malaga St. and Riberia St., will also be reconstructed in future months taking great care to restore the brick surface when the underground work is complete. The city is currently soliciting bids for that portion of the project.
Water main replacements are underway along Florida Ave. and N. Park Ave., and water lines on Clark St., Daniels St. and Aviles Dr. were recently completed. In every instance, cast iron pipes are replaced with PVC pipes and in most cases with one with a larger capacity, for example upsizing from pipes that are 2” in diameter to pipes that are 6” in diameter. Since 2010 the city has implemented an aggressive waterline replacement program. These upgrades will combat issues related to color sediments in the system thus improving water quality, but also, very importantly, will improve flow and pressure to fire hydrants.
Once these projects are completed, similar ones will follow along Palmer St. from Josiah St. to Fred Waters Way; along Masters Dr. from Ravenswood Dr. to State Road 16; in Lincolnville on Riberia St. between Bridge and Cerro Street, and along Washington St., Duero St. and Lovett St.; and off of West King Street, along St. Johns St. and Duval St.
The Public Works Department is also busy with the construction of two lift stations, essential parts of the city’s sanitary sewer system. Sewer pipes are installed on a slight incline so that when raw sewage leaves a home or business, it flows away. But at some point, especially where there is such little elevation as there is in St. Augustine, large pumps called lift stations are employed to move the material along to the treatment plant on S. Riberia Street.
The two lift stations being constructed, designated as # 51 and # 52, are on the south side of Anastasia Blvd., one on Coquina Ave. near Arricola Ave. and the other at Arredondo Ave. and Arricola Ave. The two lift stations will continue to serve all of Davis Shores as did their predecessors, but with increased capacity and remote digital monitoring to keep track of the units’ performance, especially critical during a weather emergency. In order to avoid failure of the city’s sewer systems, it is important that the pumps in the lift stations work even when power is out in other areas. Construction started in January and should be completed in August.
As a companion project to the two lift stations being replaced, the city is also undertaking a major refurbishment of the sanitary sewer system in the portion of Davis Shores north of Anastasia Blvd. The project will start in March and last approximately two months.
The project will include tele-inspections of the system, cleaning and lining of approximately 6,000 lineal feet of gravity sewer mains many consisting of old clay pipe. Each connecting joint of these old pipes becomes a source of groundwater infiltration, water being allowed into the sewer system that shouldn’t be there. By lining the sewer mains, infiltration is eliminated and the capacity of the mains, the lift stations and the wastewater treatment plant to handle only that water it should be handling are all increased. Between March and May crews will be in the area.
For more information on any of these projects, contact the Public Works Department at 904.825.1040.