Severino Construction started work May 16 affecting City streets in the Sagamore Avenue Sewer Extension Project area, impacting Sagamore Avenue, Shaw Road, Cliff Road and Walker Bungalow Road. Excavation work starts on Sagamore Ave., continuing onto the other streets as work advances. During construction travel on the streets will be limited, intermittently, to a single lane of alternating one-way travel Mon-Fri between 7 am and 6 pm. Flaggers, signs, and portable traffic lights will be used to control traffic. Pedestrian movement may be interrupted over this time period. Vehicles and pedestrians traveling on Sagamore Avenue should expect minor delays.
Next steps for homeowners interested in the project:
Those who have a preliminary design will receive an individualized cost estimate. A draft Memorandum of Agreement will follow. The homeowner will need to decide if they wish to connect by July 1, 2022 in order for the City to adjust funding needs, schedule, and contracts. Funding for private side work (both authorized and planned through the Capital Improvement Plan) is currently $750,000. If a homeowner is unable to connect at this time but may wish to connect at a later date under the cost-sharing arrangement they can do so by notify the City by December 2026 (see Item 3 below).
Those in the project area who may wish to connect under this contract but have not received a preliminary design should contact Project Manager Zach Cronin at 603.610.7304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a site meeting. Please contact the City as soon as possible to allow time for development of the design, cost estimate, and time for your decision. It is important for the City to identify as many interested properties as possible by July 1, 2022 as described above.
Those in the project area who may wish to connect to the City sewer extension at a later date but still under the cost-sharing arrangement will have until December 2026 to notify the City of their intention to do so.
Unless and until there is an executed Memorandum of Agreement with the City for participation in the installation of the private sewer service, homeowners should not assume that private side work will proceed. There must be a fully executed agreement that confirms availability of funds, repayment and schedule for the work.
As stated above, although there is currently authorized and planned funding for private side work as described above for $750,000, it is possible that homeowner interest will exceed currently authorized and planned funding and additional capital funds will have to be requested. In addition,costs for connection are expected to go up over time. The City cannot hold the costs under the current contract indefinitely. It is beneficial to identify all properties that want to connect under this contract (contract extends to approximately the end of 2023) by July of 2022. This will allow the City to adjust funding, schedule, and the contract and to update the City Council with firm costs.
A Public Information Meeting was held on April 27, 2022.
For the informational presentation from that meeting, click here.
For the video recording of the meeting, click here.
This Memo to City Council (April 12, 2022) provides additional information about the letter sent by Severino Construction/Maine Drilling & Blasting (April 11, 2022) about prep work affecting households in the Phase 1 area, starting in May.
This Memo to City Council (March 30, 2022) details the construction under the base contract (Phase 1) that commences in April. Phase 1 includes the sewer main in the roadway and services from the main to each property line for homes north of Sagamore Creek: Walker Bungalow Road, Shaw Road, Cliff Road, and Sagamore Avenue north of Sagamore Creek.
Under the cost sharing proposal discussed publicly and approved in the FY22 Capital Improvement Plan, the City’s contract includes the installation of sewer service from the edge of roadway to the house including the sewage ejector pump, connection to the house, any necessary electrical or plumbing modifications, and abandoning the existing septic system. The cost-sharing plan developed with the City Council in 2019 and 2020 includes reimbursement from participating homeowners for the installation of the sewer lateral line from the property line to the sewage ejector pump.
1. Currently on holding tanks: A number of properties are on holding tanks with no septic systems. DES requires as a condition of occupancy that a property be connected to an approved septic or sewer system. This requirement can be waived and the property can be put on a holding tank if there will be a municipal sewer system available to connect to within one year of occupancy of the property. A number of properties are awaiting the sewer main because they currently have holding tanks.
2. Failed septic systems: Failed septic systems contribute to poor water quality and are a public health hazard. A typical failed septic results in either sewage backing into the house or pooling in the area surrounding the leach field.
3. Old systems: DES allows municipalities to waive connection requirements for properties with functioning septic systems if the system was installed after January 1, 1985 per State RSA 147:8. Septic systems installed prior to this time are seen by DES as a priority and will be prioritized for connection to the sewer. Please note that the City of Portsmouth updated its sewer ordinance in December 2021 to allow for waived sewer connections for all functioning septic systems.
4. Owner Request: These conversions will take place as the homeowner requests and as funds are available but only after the higher priority septic conversions have been completed.
NHDES Environmental Review
The City of Portsmouth is required under Provision IV.d of the Second Modification of Consent Decree 09-cv-283-PB to extend sewer service to the Sagamore Avenue area and Walker’s Bungalow Road area (these areas include Sagamore Avenue, Walker Bungalow Road, Shaw Road, Cliff Road, Little Harbor Road, Sagamore Grove, and Wentworth House Road). The purpose of this project is to meet the requirements of this consent decree by constructing a sewer system to serve the residential, commercial, and recreational properties that reside in the project area. As part of the process the project requires permits from the New Hampshire Departments of Environmental Services (NHDES) Standard Dredge and Fill Permit, NHDES Shoreland Protection Permit, NHDES Alternation of Terrain Permit, Construction General Permit, NHDOT Road opening permit and a Remediation General Permit along with local permitting requirements.
The NHDES Environmental Review has determined a Finding of "No Significant Impact" for the proposed project and received no comments during the public input review that ended June 25, 2021.
Please continue to direct comments or questions about the proposed sewer connections to Zachary Cronin, Assistant City Engineer, at email@example.com or 603-610-7304.
April 13, 2021 Update
The Planning Board approved the Conditional Use Permit. We have sent the plan set to NHDOT for their review. We have also sent the 90% specifications to NHDES for their review.
March 26, 2021 Update
As part of the permitting process, DPW presented the project drawings for approval of the City's Conditional Use Permit and Wetlands Permit to the Planning Board and the Conservation Commission.
The Department of Public Works continues to make progress on the Sewer Extension Project and now offers residents draft drawings of the project, including the work on private property. [click here]. The properties included on this sewer connection plan are owned by those who have held individual site meetings with the project consultant, Wright-Pierce. The drawings are drafts, subject to change based on homeowner request. These drawings do not require or obligate that anyone joins the project. This is simply a step in the process needed to keep the project moving forward.
As part of the permitting process, DPW presented the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Wetland Permit [click here] and the City’s Conditional Use Permit for the Sagamore Avenue Sewer Extension Project to the Conservation Commission on Wednesday March 10
February 27, 2021
As part of the Sagamore Avenue Sewer Extension Project, borings are needed to collect data about the soils and bedrock in the project area. The first phase of borings was completed in the spring of 2020; and this work will complete the boring data collection. Work is scheduled to take place Monday, February 22 through Friday, February 26, 8 am to 3:30 pm, weather permitting. The work area includes the zone announced in January: Walker Bungalow Road at the Shaw Road intersection, and sections of Sagamore Avenue and Wentworth House Road. The work will take place on one side of the road, leaving one lane for traffic; but some delays may be expected.
February 8, 2021 Update: Reviewing draft wetlands permit.
See the schematic below for the current limits of the project that include portions of Sagamore Ave, Shaw Road, Cliff Road, Walker Bungalow Road, Sagamore Grove and Wentworth House Road to the Town of Rye line. This project was incorporated into the Consent Decree in September 2016 as a supplemental environmental project as part of a Consent Decree modification to extend the time for construction of the City’s Peirce Island Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The goal of this work is to extend public sewer service in an area with existing septic systems. This will provide an outlet for failed septic systems or for property owners interested in connecting to a public sewer system. This will reduce the bacterial load (in the case of failed septic systems) and reduce nitrogen discharged to Sagamore Creek, which discharges to the Great Bay Estuary.
The proposed system is a low pressure sewer system. This type of system reduces construction costs by using small diameter pipes that can be installed at shallower depths than conventional sewer system mains. This system requires that each property has an ejector pump that discharges the sewerage into the small diameter main. A property with a functioning septic system will not be required to connect to the new sewer. Once the new sewer system is constructed, however, a property whose septic system fails will be required to connect.
It is anticipated that this project will begin construction in the Spring of 2021.
MEETINGS AND PRESENTATIONS
Please note that due to the progression of the project, there may be contradictory project details within the presentations below.
• Authorize the final permitting design and bidding necessary to install public sewer mains and private components to the full project limits (91 connections).
• Direct that the bid document be structured so as to allow for the base bid to include the installation of all public sewer mains and the bid alternates to consist of all the private property work.