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Sewer System Schedule On Council Agenda
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Members of the Riverbank City Council will be asked to adopt a sewer system maintenance plan that has long been demanded by state authorities, said Riverbank City Manager Rich Holmer in reviewing topics due on Monday's agenda, March 14.

The council currently meets on the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 7 p.m. in City Hall chambers at 6707 Third St.

Although wastewater treatment plant improvements have been stymied for over a year by the council's failure to get a majority vote to raise the rates, the Regional Water Quality Control Board is still requiring a comprehensive maintenance plan for the city's entire sewer system.

"It doesn't have to be done all at one time. But the Board is requiring we show some effort," Holmer said.

The city has suffered no major spills recently but did have a small leak on Jackson Avenue when an electrical failure stopped the lift station pump, officials noted. The city needs a portable generator to keep pumps running or the system backs up. It also needs an automatic electronic notification system so that all lift stations are alerted to the failure of even one.

The Crossroads area lift station, for example, has the capacity to pass material along for six to seven hours. But Jackson Avenue station can last only an hour and a half before the system becomes clogged.

Among other items on Monday's agenda is a proposal to start meetings at 6 p.m. rather than the current 7 p.m. The last meeting ran until after 11 p.m., which officials said can impact the efficiency of both council members and the members of the public attending the sessions.

The council is due to direct Economic Development Director Tim Ogden on forming a committee of local business people to advise the city in these tough economic times. Their first item of business will be to review alternatives for the city-owned Del Rio Building that is now slated for sale.

Staff will also recommend setting aside $10,000 to prepare a feasibility study for bringing a hotel to Riverbank.

"Do we have the business to justify it?" said Holmer. "We think we can maintain 70 percent occupancy on weekends but how about during the week?"

Before the council meeting, the Planning Commission and council will meet in joint session at 6 p.m. to look at a report for developing the downtown including the former cannery site now unused for several years.