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Coal City sewer project estimated to cost more than expected

Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 8:23 p.m. CST

COAL CITY – Bids for a project connecting Prairie Oaks subdivision to Coal City’s sanitation plant came in about $230,000 higher than expected, prompting further delays in the project timeline.

The subdivision’s current sewage plant is not working properly because of problems in its original construction. The defunct plant is causing health and sanitary issues for homeowners.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency issued a mandate to fix the problem, which will involve connecting the homes to Coal City’s main sewage plant and decommissioning the subdivision’s current lift station.

But it appears connecting the subdivision to Coal City’s sanitary system will be more costly than originally planned, according to the bids the village received.

“Those were much more expensive than we expected so we’re going to try and re-bid the project,” Coal City Administrator Matt Fritz said. “The lift station project was not included in this bid, so we’re going to try including that portion of the project this time.”

Currently, the village of Coal City, Prairie Oaks residents and state grants are contributing most of the money needed to complete the nearly $1 million project.

Coal City was awarded a $329,000 community block grant from the state in 2011 to help pay for the project.

The remaining $596,000 will be funded during the next 10 years through a property tax agreement between the homeowners and the village.

The deadline to spend the grant money is coming up this September, which means the village needs to file for a grant extension since the next set of bids likely won’t be accepted and approved by that time.

“We will need to file an extension, because obviously, with the numbers we’ve got, the board does not feel comfortable moving forward with this yet,” Coal City Mayor Neal Nelson said Wednesday.

Despite the unexpected high costs, Fritz said he is confident Prairie Oaks will eventually be connected to the village’s main sewer plant.

However, it is still unclear what will happen if the next set of bids again come in higher than the village budgeted.

Nelson said the village has committed to the project financially, but does not want pour too much money into the project.

“We’ve gone through a long process on this. We’ve spent quite a bit of money on engineering and are trying to do the right thing,” Nelson said. “What we don’t want to do is tie up a lot of funding from the village into this project.”

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