Frequently Asked Questions about the Integration of Central City Water Project
(Last updated June 24, 2016)
How soon will construction start?
It is anticipated construction on the project will start as early as June 2016.
How long will construction occur?
Construction is anticipated to occur June through October 2016 and is subject to change due to unsuitable weather or other unforeseen items.
When will construction occur on my street?
Work will start Monday, June 27th on Hilltop Street. The preliminary estimate anticipates construction will take approximately 3 weeks per street. The contractor will have two crews – one placing the sewer main line, followed by another installing the side services. Once the main and services are in, they will be completing pressure and bacteriological testing. Then they will work on tying in the new main to the City’s existing water system and then disconnect/reconnect the individual houses from the old Central City meters to the new City meters. Finally, they will complete cleanup work (yards and paving) and move on to the next street. We believe next on the schedule will be Crestline, followed by Heights, Fieldview, then Heather/Ridgeview. However, the speed and order of the work may change depending on many factors. The City will do its best to post updates as they become available.
Will I be able to drive in and out of my neighborhood during construction?
Streets will be closed to through traffic when construction is actively occurring on those specific roads. Drivers should expect delays and may be asked to utilize detour routes during construction hours for both their safety as well as the safety of those performing the construction work. The City and contractor will work with area residents and provide adequate notice if a closure will impact access to their house.
What are the hours of construction?
Construction hours are generally 7am to 6pm, Monday through Friday. While work outside of those hours is not anticipated, it is possible.
Will you need to shut off my water during construction?
Yes, there will be times where the water will need to be shut off to allow the contractor to complete connections from the old water system to the new water system. The City or its contractor will notify you, usually via a door-hanger notice a minimum of the day before a water shutoff is planned. In cases of emergency or water leak, it may not be possible to provide advance notice of a shutoff. However, we will do our best to provide information to any affected residents.
Who will be responsible for connecting my house service line to the new water system?
The City will complete the connection if the property owner completes, signs and returns a Temporary Construction Easement document to the City. Otherwise, the property owner will be responsible for connecting their water service line to the City’s meter.
What is a Temporary Construction Easement?
A Temporary Construction Easement, or TCE, is a document which gives the City, its employees, agents and contractor permission to enter onto private property to complete specific work. In this case, it provides authorization to enter private property to locate and connect your water service line to the house. A copy of the TCE for this project can be downloaded from the City’s project page on our website.
A copy of the TCE can be found on the project page here: www.cityofferndale.org/ccwater
If I don’t want to provide City access to my property, how do I go about connecting my house line to the City’s meter?
You will be required to obtain an Encroachment Permit from the City. The cost for the permit is $200.00, and the work to connect to the City’s meter must be completed by a contractor licensed through the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and the City of Ferndale. A copy of the permit application can be downloaded from the City’s forms page on our website.
What if part of my driveway, yard, landscaping, etc. gets dug up or disturbed by the City’s contractor during construction. Who fixes that?
The City and its contractor will do its best to limit impacts your private property. Areas disturbed during construction will be restored in kind. So, any grass areas will be reseeded, asphalt driveways will be patched with asphalt, gravel with gravel, concrete with concrete, etc.
Who is responsible for looking after and/or watering any vegetation replaced as part of construction? The property owner or resident will be responsible for water, mowing or tending any restored area on private property.
Where will the new meter be located?
Water meters are the property of the City of Ferndale and will be located within the City’s right of way, immediately adjacent to private property. The location of the meter will depend on where the service line to your house is already located.
Will you take out the old meter?
Where practical, i.e. as long as the old meter is close to the roadway and near the new City meter location by the City’s right of way and the owner has signed a Temporary Construction Easement, the City will remove the old meter and meter box.
What if I don’t like where the City plans to place the new meter – can I request it be moved?
In short, no. The City will be locating its meters according to City standard, as well as situating it so the connection to the homeowner’s water service is most easily accomplished.
Will there be fire hydrants installed as part of the project?
Yes, new hydrants will be installed on the new water system.
What if I don’t like where the City plans to place a fire hydrant in my neighborhood or next to my house – can I request it be moved?
Generally, no. While the City may have some flexibility to adjust the hydrant locations somewhat, hydrants are located to meet City standard, which requires a hydrant be place every 500’ feet in residential areas. Shifting the location of a single hydrant may then require that all others on the line be moved, which would not be feasible.
Will sidewalks be added in my neighborhood as part of this project?
No, this project will replace the waterlines only, and no other new improvements will be added. The streets will be patched only where dug up to install the new water lines.
We are currently paying a $50/month surcharge on our water bill for this project. Will I still be charged after construction?
Yes, a surcharge will continue to be assessed by the City as part of your water bill after construction of the project. The amount will depend on the total cost of construction. More on that below.
Will the surcharge change after construction? How much will it be?
Because the surcharge will be used to pay back the Department of Commerce/Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan, the surcharge amount will be based on the final cost of the project, the term of the loan and the interest rate. While it is currently estimated that the total cost of the project will be just over $2.26 million, up to half of the project costs will be forgiven upon completion of the work. The interest rate will also be reduced from 1.5% to 1% if the work is finished before spring of 2017. Based on these numbers, our Finance Department estimates the typical payment every 2 months on the water bill will be similar to the current assessment. Again, this is subject to change based on actual construction costs, but may be slightly less than the current surcharge.
How long will the surcharge be assessed?
The surcharge will be collected for the term of the loan, which is 24 years.
Can I make a lump sum payment and pay off the assessment early?
No, the City will not accept lump sum payoffs of the assessment amount. The assessment will be applied to customers’ water bills for the 24 year assessment period.
I have other questions – who should I talk to?
Please feel free to contact the Public Works Department at (360) 384-4006, and we will do our best to answer any questions you may have about this project. We also have a project page on the City’s website where information is posted and updated.