Yukon eyes water, sewer line upgrades

Top priorities to address with $4.9M federal stimulus award

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Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Yukon city leaders plan to use $4.9 million in federal stimulus funds toward replacing aging water and sewer lines.

The City of Yukon is eligible for the help through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill designed to speed up the United States’ recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing recession.

Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar called the $4.9 million allocation a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.

Yukon city officials hope to combine their ARPA award with grants and other funds distributed through Canadian County and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.

City of Yukon administrators shared six potential ARPA-funded projects during the Sept. 7th Yukon City Council study session:

Water line replacement, sewer line replacement, 11 sewer lift stations, wastewater treatment plant upgrades, water treatment system to remove arsenic, and smart water meters.

At Kretchmar’s recommendation, council members agreed that replacing the city’s water line and sewer line infrastructure are the top priorities. These projects are eligible for funding through the ARPA of 2021.

Yukon Public Works Director Arnold Adams

That came after Yukon Public Works Director Arnold Adams shared a lengthy list of “critical” water and sewer line projects across Yukon.

Adams estimated the overall cost of “needed replacement” is $48,790,090 for 1,234,615 feet of water line and $78,061,500 for 847,440 feet of sewer line.

Council members agreed the situation was serious due to the poor condition of many Yukon water and sewer lines.

Vice Mayor Rick Cacini said past city councils should have set aside funds regularly for future upgrades to the infrastructure.

“This has been an ongoing problem for the last 20 years that has not been addressed,” Cacini said. “We have to respond to it.”

Mayor Shelli Selby noted that $4.9 million is “just a drop in the bucket” considering the high cost of projected upgrades.

“A lot of work needs to be done,” Selby said.

“With this gift, we hope we can make a big dent.”

Ward 4 Council Member Aric Gilliland agreed that Yukon had reached “that critical moment” with the city’s water and sewer line infrastructure.

“We’ve got to fix it,” Gilliland said.

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WAIT, THERE’S MORE …

City council members on Sept. 7 heard estimated costs for other possible water and sewer system upgrades:

  • Wastewater treatment plant modifications to increase capacity to 5 million gallons per day – $6 million.
  • Installing arsenic removal units at four of Yukon’s 15 water wells – $650,000 each plus $100,000 annual maintenance.
  • Buying land and building a new water treatment plant to remove arsenic – $7 million.
  • Smart water meter system to provide real-time data, detect leaks, enhance meter reading, and streamline billing – $4,029,734.

Kretchmar emphasized that all costs presented Sept. 7 were estimates and can change “from day to day.” They also don’t include professional engineering fees.

ARPA funds must be allocated by 2024 and the City of Yukon will have through 2026 to spend the $4.9 million award.

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