An information letter on the project was sent to all homeowners, renters, and property managers of record dated October 24, 2008.
The infrastructure improvements involve repairing/replacing sections of the sewer lines/manholes that are sagging, deformed, or leaking; repair/replacement of major water system valves; replacement of leaking and all galvanized water supply lines leading up to the individual curb stops; and replacement of water supply curb stop valves if necessary. Galvanized or leaking water service lines between the curb stop valves and the facility being serviced must be replaced at the expense of the owner. Some sewer service lines from individual lots have also been identified as needing some work such as pipe repair / replacement, joint repair, new clean-out installation, existing clean-out repair, or providing improved access to an existing clean-out. In general, work on sewer service lines from individual lots are the financial responsibility of the lot owner. As such, the owner may contract with Westwood Curtis to perform the needed work or with another contractor of their choice. The sewer system work is intended to address several subdivision issues: groundwater leakage into the system that increases the volume sent to the treatment plant thereby elevating the sewer system charges billed monthly by the Town of Jackson; potential contamination of the ground due to leakage of sewerage from the system; sagging, crimped, or otherwise deformed piping that could cause blockage; or the inability to examine the condition of the sewer service line by TV camera via a clean-out.
Special Assessment 2 is funding this work along with grants from Teton County ($700,000) and the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) ($1,400,000).
Westwood Curtis Construction, Inc. wishes to express their gratitude for the cooperation and courtesy shown them by the lot owners and residents of Rafter J during this project. They are fully aware of the disruption both the digging and the water outages have caused and appreciate the manner with which they have been received.
Specifications for Street/Driveway Repair, and Private Water and Sewer Service Line Repair:
Individuals who wish to hire their own contractor to perform repairs to their driveway, private water service line, or private sewer service line need to insure that the repairs are done in accordance with the specifications adopted by the District. The specifications are available from the following links:
Lot Owner Responsibilities & Precautions:
Each lot owner is responsible for informing tenants about the Rafter J Infrastructure Improvement project. Please provide a copy of this letter to your tenants.
The Rafter J infrastructure Improvement project will involve frequent shutting off of the water mains. Home occupants should avoid using hot water when the water mains are turned off. Draining the water from your hot water tank can cause damage. For protection, you may want to shut off your hot water heater during water outages. The Rafter J Improvement and Service District is not responsible for water heater damage.
Each lot owner is responsible for their private water service line that runs from the curb stop (water valve) near the lot boundary in to the house. All galvanized steel water service lines will be replaced. Existing copper and polyethylene water service lines will be pressured tested as part of this project. The lot owner is responsible for repairs or replacement of the water service line if their pressure test fails.
Each lot owner is responsible for the cost to replace or repair their private sewer service lines from home to sewer main that are identified as leaking or damaged. Several problem sewer service lines have already been identified through TV inspection, and additional TV inspection work will be performed on the remaining sewer services during the project.
Notifications of water and sewer service lines with known problems will be mailed in the near future. Homeowners may coordinate with and pay Westwood Curtis Construction to complete the private water and sewer service line replacement and repairs or they may utilize a separate contractor of their choice. The Rafter J Improvement and Service District Regulations require repairs to be made within 72 hours notice to the lot owner. Homeowners must notify Rafter J prior to beginning work on private lines and to coordinate Rafter J Improvement and Service District inspection and testing of service lines.
Water and sewer service lines may be located under private drives and walkways. Each lot owner is responsible for to their own driveways and walkways:
Each lot owner is responsible for any repairs to damaged irrigation lines located within the road and utility easements.
Expect and be prepared for utility outages throughout the day during the project. Emergency situations are likely to occur that could delay restoring water, sewer, and utility services by 6 p.m. each workday. Since the work will be performed throughout the winter, home heat sources may not operate for extended periods each work day. Minimize heat loss from your home and consider providing a backup heat source for extended utility disruption and emergencies. The home occupant should store additional water. Minimize refrigerator and freezer openings during power outages to maintain the cold temperatures and avoid thawing. It is recommended that computer files be saved and computers be backed up frequently.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q: Will my trees and shrubbery be disturbed during the project?
A: Landscaping is very likely to be destroyed in the project and replacement is the responsibility of the owners. The area restoration provided by the project is limited to refilling, leveling, and re-seeding.
Q: Will my driveway or walkway be damaged during the project?
A: Every effort will be made to avoid damage to private paved areas during the project; however, damage may be unavoidable in gaining access to the water or sewer lines. Cost of restoration of pavement is the responsibility of the owner since the ISD is not responsible for the restoration of property improvements.
Q: What will be the duration of service outages?
A: Service outages are expected to be 2 to 3 hours in duration but unforeseen circumstances may prolong these outages. Every effort will be made to minimize the length of each outage.
Q: Will service outages occur on the weekends?
A: No work is scheduled to occur on the weekends. It is possible that unforeseen circumstances may extend a service outage past 6:00 p.m. into the evening or even into the weekend in order to restore service. Work will continue non-stop until services have been restored.
Q: When will the chance for service outages be over?
A: The work to make the improvements is scheduled to last 2 years (Until Fall of 2010) although the initial work on the main water valves in the system will enable localizing the outages to the area where work is being done.
Q: Will the work (and outages) occur throughout the winter?
A: Yes, winter work has several advantages: 1) the groundwater level is lower, 2) less shoring is needed on the pits that are dug to prevent the walls from caving in because of the frozen ground, and 3) employment for the construction company is maintained at a higher level throughout winter which is usually a relatively slack time. This is good for the employees, the construction company, and the community and contributes to a lower cost to Rafter J.
Q: Will the streets and yards be torn up during the work?
A: There will be some disturbance of the streets and yards; however, the ISD and the construction company intend to utilize any of several boring techniques that would preclude digging trenches if successful. Trenching may be done if the boring techniques are unsuccessful or unworkable.
Q: Will parking in the street be permitted if my driveway is damaged due to the project work?
A: Yes, The HOA will allow street parking due to any interference with accessing or using your driveway caused by the project work. Keep in mind; however, that vehicles that interfere with snow removal may get plowed in while clearing snow from the rest of the street. Also, once access to the driveway has been restored, vehicles parked on the street will need to be moved as soon as possible to avoid receiving a parking violation from the HOA.
Q: Is it possible for individual lot owners to opt out of the project?
A: No, individual lot owners do not have this option. Part of the funding for this project is derived from the 2nd Special Assessment that has been applied to nearly everyone in Rafter J. When the 2nd Special Assessment was being considered, because some townhome associations had already done work that was to be covered by the project, different work scopes were established for each townhome association and for the single family homes with corresponding assessment amounts. Based on the projected costs, the SE 40 Townhomes opted, as a group, to not have any additional work done within the SE 40 townhome area as part of the current project. Those in SE 40 who have galvanized service lines will, nevertheless, be required to replace those lines at their own expense. The water supplied to the SE 40 townhomes will also be metered so as to include any water leaked from piping within their area and billed to the SE 40 Townhome Association.
Q: Why are we advised to turn off water heaters during water outages?
A: Electric water heaters often have multiple heating elements–usually two, one near the bottom of the heater and one approximately midway up the heater. If the water in the heater were to drain away sufficiently to uncover the upper heating element and the element were to energize, the element would likely overheat and fail or,far less likely, even cause a fire. Gas water heaters only heat at the very bottom of the water heater such that they would experience damage only if the heater drained completely.
While the water system is being worked on, the water pipes are open and drained. Your water heater could drain by siphoning if it is located above the level of the underground pipes that are open. Since the underground pipes are approximately 6 feet underground, even water heaters in crawlspaces could drain. Draining would be more likely to occur or would happen more rapidly if a hot water faucet is left open even slightly since it would provide a path for air to flow into the tank allowing the water in the tank to drain more easily.
Q: After a water outage, my water is cloudy. Is it OK?
A: There are a variety of reasons water may be cloudy after a water outage. If the cloudiness is gray but clears up after standing for a few minutes, the cause is dissolved air in the water. This condition is harmless and should clear after the system has remained pressurized for a day or two. If the cloudiness is brown or reddish with the possible settling out of particles if the water is allowed to stand for awhile, this is most likely caused by the inadvertent introduction of dirt into the water line while it was open. The water lines are routinely flushed after they have been re-pressurized in an attempt to remove any dirt that may have been introduced but it may not get all of it, particularly if you draw water before that flushing has been completed. This condition should also clear quite soon after system pressure has been restored; however, screens in faucets and hoses to clothes and dish washers may need to be cleaned if these appliances were operated before the discoloration stopped.
Q: How should I prepare my sprinkler system?
A: The best approach is to dig up and remove any sprinkler heads within 10 feet of the curb stop valve leaving the tubing in the ground, possibly with the end of the tubing exposed above ground. The tubing is relatively inexpensive to replace compared to the cost of the sprinkler heads.
Alternatively, place markers at all sprinkler head locations. These markers should be tall enough to be seen above any snow accumulation.