The town of Oakland connected its first customer to its new wastewater system in January 2018. Today, there are 550 customers.
Public Works Director Mike Parker provided an update on the project at the Feb. 23 Town Commission meeting and announced a new funding source.
The state of Florida’s 2020 budget included $250,000 in funding assistance to Oakland for the construction of Lift Station No. 6. It will be constructed in the area of Catherine Ross Road, the southeast corner of the Oakland Avenue Charter School property and a future extension of Sadler Avenue.
This project is in the design phase. The funding will assist with design and construction of the lift station, which will serve a large portion of east Oakland. The facility will allow existing flows from the charter school and the police and fire departments.
“This septic-to-sewer conversion is a complicated process,” Town Manager Steve Koontz said. “If you don’t get the grant money, you have to pass that cost along to the residents … and it’s very expensive.”
Commissioner Mike Satterfield said the town is fortunate to have been able to use the lift station built by Pulte Homes.
“I don’t want anyone to get nervous about what the cost is going to be when it comes time to connect to existing homes,” Mayor Kathy Stark said.
“We’ve got a lot of grant money, so we can figure out the process,” Koontz said. “We just need to take it step by step.”
The town has successfully obtained three grants from three different agencies for the conversion of homes from septic to sewer. Oakland received a Community Development Block Grant for $600,000, a Florida Department of Environmental Protection grant for $550,000 and a St. Johns River Water Management District grant for $644,000.
A previous allocation from the state’s 2017 budget included $1 million in funding assistance for wastewater improvements in certain parts of the town. Parker said this was used for three distinct areas — two extensions and a lift station/force main.
The Industrial Extension is a gravity sewer installed along Oakland Avenue, west of the bridge at Florida’s Turnpike, to serve the industrial area. Work was completed in November.
The Cemetery Extension is a force main (pressure) sewer main that runs over land and connects the Lift Station No. 5 service area to the existing Lift Station No. 4 area. Parker said this portion is vital to the “backbone” of the system. It was completed last August.
Lift Station No. 5/Force Main is expected to be put into service within the next few months. It is located at the intersection of East Hull Avenue and South Arrington Street and has the capacity to serve the commercial corridor east of Tubb Street and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Koontz said town staff will be holding several community meetings in the coming months for residents in the area of town who will be affected by the latest step in the project.
IN OTHER NEWS
• Under the consent agenda, the commission approved a budget transfer to fund three projects. The first is $40,000 for the purchase of a generator to be used at various wastewater lift stations when there are power outages. The town has one stationary generator for Lift Station No. 1, but the expansion of the sewer project necessitates the need for a second one. The second transfer is $42,000 for crossing safety enhancements for the pedestrian crossing being installed at the Longleaf at Oakland neighborhood entrance. The third transfer is $100,000 to purchase some key properties within the town to increase connectivity and add some amenities to the trail network in the town.
• The commission voted in favor of Mayor Stark signing a lien release and allowing Claude Hendry to pay $350 to clear the lien on property he purchased at 14237 W. Colonial Drive, Winter Garden.