Rapid City Regional Airport is preparing to issue a tender for the construction of a new sanitary sewer collection system to replace the obsolete sewage lagoon that has caused environmental problems in the past.
The estimated $ 2.5 million project would construct a new gravity sewer line from the airport’s main collection system to transport wastewater to the city’s water harvesting facility. It includes 4,820 feet of eight-inch pipe that will run along Airport Road to a new lift station. The lift station would then send the sewage through another 12,200-foot, four-inch pipe west along State Highway 79, where it would connect to the city’s existing sewer infrastructure.
Airport executive director Patrick Dame said on Tuesday the tenders are expected to be open by January 27 and expects the new sewage system to be completed in November 2022.
“We will have easements that will need to be purchased, and after the first of the year, those easements will be taken over,” he said. “This will allow us to dig into parts of the right-of-way. Hopefully this should move forward fairly quickly.”
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The 1960s lagoon is too small to serve the airport during peak travel season and has no capacity to serve in the future.
During the summer of 2019, the airport had to apply approximately 74,100 gallons of sewage to the north end of the property. This emergency dump was carried out without proper permission from the then-appointed South Dakota Department of the Environment and Natural Resources.
Although the state agency later discovered that no contamination was caused by the emergency release, it shed light on the age and limits of the lagoon and the airport administration. began to study how to solve the problem of long-term capacity.
A 2020 environmental assessment indicated that connecting the airport’s collection system to the city’s sewage network was the preferred option over building a new aerated lagoon.
During the peak summer travel season, the airport had to pay a company thousands of dollars to pump the lagoon due to capacity issues again.
The airport’s board of directors on Tuesday approved new policies and procedures for ground transportation companies serving the airport after Rapid City Council approved new fares and fees in a Monday meeting. .
The policy includes an annual operator license fee of $ 200 for companies that pick up and drop off passengers. The annual fee will be postponed until 2023 to give operators time to prepare.
There would also be new fees based on vehicle size and types, which would go into effect on April 1. For operators of airport shuttles, taxis and limousines that can accommodate one to eight people, the fee would be $ 2 per one way. Larger vehicles that can accommodate between nine and 15 people would be charged $ 4 one way. Companies that operate vehicles that can accommodate 16 or more passengers would be charged $ 1.50 per person.
Rideshare companies, such as Lyft and Uber, would be charged $ 2 per one-way trip. Peer-to-peer carsharing companies, such as Turo, would be charged a fee of 6% of gross revenue.
The policies outlined an application and clearance process for a new central land transportation island to be established in the outer lanes of the aisle in front of the terminal building.
Dame said that Airport Express Shuttle is the only company that has paid to use airport facilities in the past and that other shuttle, bus, taxi, limousine and rideshare programs do not have it. do. Dame said there have been issues with other ground transportation companies that have arisen during the 2021 summer season and the decision to establish a defined policy is needed to level the playing field.
“We’ve been working on this for the past four to five years,” Dame said. “Last summer really sparked the need to put something in place here and get some regulation on what’s going on between the operators of the companies on the ground.
“Airport Express Shuttle is the only one that contributes to associate and pay the airport … They are the only ones that contribute to the costs of the airport. The other companies that do business here are not,” a he declared.
Contact Nathan Thompson at [email protected]