UTILITIES EXTENSION PROJECT BACKGROUND
Cape Coral originally was a low-density, rural community with septic tanks and shallow groundwater wells. Today, these shallow wells are depleting the upper groundwater aquifer, while failed septic tank effluent can flow into groundwater and canals which has the potential to cause environmental problems.
The Utilities Extension Project (UEP) will provide City water, sewer and irrigation services to your area. In addition, new roads will be built as part of the sewer project along with storm water improvements. The City has extended utilities to nearly all of Cape Coral south of Pine Island Road.
The City’s utilities provide a reliable source of drinking water and wastewater services to the property owners in the area. The City completed the construction of a new water treatment facility in the North Cape with the expectation that utilities extension projects would continue in a sequenced fashion throughout the remainder of the areas of the City without utilities.
The City’s potable water system pulls its groundwater supply from deep wells situated in the Lower Hawthorn Aquifer. The water is treated and pumped into the distribution system. The extension project will connect into this existing water treatment system. The project provides the potable water lines to the property, and these lines are ready for homeowner connection.
The wastewater lines (or sanitary sewer) take the used potable water from a homeowner’s property. The City uses a gravity sewer system, which consists of sewer lines that collect and convey the wastewater flow to local lift stations. These lift stations pump the wastewater under pressure via force mains to the wastewater reclamation facilities for treatment.
The treated wastewater is pumped back to customers, through irrigation water lines, for watering their lawns. This re-use water is supplemented by canal water as necessary to meet peak demands. Cape Coral is a leader in water reuse technology, which is an important conservation tool.
Here are just a few of the benefits to extending City water, sewer and irrigation services:
- Customers will receive a dependable supply of high-quality, good tasting drinking water.
- Public Safety – Installation of fire hydrants in the area will provide a fire-flow system with a reliable water supply and pressure. This may lower homeowner insurance premiums. Please check with your insurance carrier.
- Water conservation for irrigation – The City operates an irrigation water system that provides a separate source of treated, reclaimed water for irrigation. This decreases the use of potable (drinking) water for irrigation, which conserves the drinking water. It also eliminates the need to discharge treated wastewater.
- Enhanced property values – Properties connected to a centralized water and sewer system will have an increased value over those with wells and septic systems.
- Economic growth – This will improve the quality of life for all Cape Coral citizens.
UTILITIES EXTENSION PROJECT UPDATE
The Final Assessment Resolution for the $103 Million Southwest 6 & 7 Utilities Extension Project (UEP) was approved by Council in August 2013. Based on today’s dollar, the SW 6 & 7 assessments are one of the lowest assessments since the UEP began in the 1990s. This is the only project to offer a 20% discount on the CFEC.
The City finalized an agreement with the FDEP in September 2013 securing a $90 Million low-interest rate State Revolving Fund loan for the Southwest 6 & 7 UEP. The low-interest rate loans will provide significant savings in interest costs for those who finance the project over the 20-year amortized payment schedule. Annual payments are not billed until November 2014 and are not due until April 1, 2015.
The City successfully bid and awarded seven (7) construction contracts totaling $73 Million with Notice to Proceed given in October 2013. The Southwest 6 & 7 project is presently under construction with final completion scheduled for April 2015.
In June 2014 Council approved City staff to begin the process to hire an outside consultant for design services for the estimated $137 Million North 2 UEP. City staff is presently preparing the Request for Proposals (RFP).
Also, in June 2014 Council approved the hiring of additional City staff to assist with the management and coordination of the North 2 design as well as North 1 and future UEP areas. The UEP office will be hiring two engineers and one CAD / GIS specialist.
The City’s Utilities Extension Division is presently made up of five people. The Utilities Extension Manager, Utilities Business Analyst and three Inspectors. The City has contracted with Tetra Tech for construction, engineering and inspection services for SW 6 & 7. If there are any questions, please call the SW 6 & 7 construction liaison at (239) 336-4399 or the Citizens Action Center at (239) 574-0425.