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A. Frost Depth - “Normal” maximum frost depths in our region are 4 to 6 feet. In paved areas or other areas where snow is removed frost can drive down deeper. As the frost level goes down it approaches and, in extremely cold winters, can reach near the depth of water service laterals. In older parts of the Utility’s service area water mains and service laterals may only be between 6 and 7 feet deep. In areas of newer construction water mains and service laterals should be 7 feet deep or more. Think of frost as simply a block of ice in the ground which grows larger and larger from the ground surface downward. If the block of ice touches or surrounds a water service lateral, the lateral will freeze without water running through it. Frost depth is the most important factor in causing water service laterals to freeze underground.
B. Water Usage – This applies to both the water mains and the water service lateral itself. Lower usage is going to mean the water stays in the pipes longer. If water usage in the mains is lower the water gets colder. If water usage on a lateral is very low or even stops (such as when a resident goes on vacation) the water in the lateral will become even colder and, if the frost is deep enough, the lateral freezes. Customers with low usage (single occupant homes for example), businesses with long periods of no water usage on weekends, homes unoccupied during vacation periods, etc., are going to be much more likely to freeze during these cold weather periods.
C. Exposure to Weather – There are 2 ways municipal water supply temperature can be affected by the air temperature. Your service lateral may be exposed to drafts or cold air near where it enters your building. The other “exposure” is from water being stored in elevated water towers where it cools (or warms) during the time it stays in the tank. Most water towers in our region will develop ice along the tank walls during a winter season, but the majority of water remains liquid due to the daily filling and usage cycle.
There are a number of water service laterals which are known to routinely freeze each year. Some of those freeze on the customer’s portion of the water service lateral and some on the Utility’s portion of the lateral. The Utility is required to annually notify those customers whose service laterals freeze on their portion to either take measures to prevent freezing or, at their option, pay for thawing the service lateral if it freezes. If the freezing is something known to occur on the Utility portion of the water service lateral, the Utility either takes measures to prevent freezing or takes care of any costs to prevent freezing. You may also wish to review the PSC’s FAQ on this topic.
B. At the time of initial installation of your water service lateral your plumbing contractor should have observed standard practices for minimum bury depth of the water service lateral. If the minimum bury depth could not be met, the water service lateral should have been insulated.
C. In a typical winter season there is really nothing you need to do to prevent the underground part of a water service lateral from freezing, as long as it has been installed properly. In an unusually cold winter when frost depths are greater than normal, utilities sometimes make the judgment call of advising customers to run water as a precautionary measure rather than respond to high numbers of customer freeze-ups. If the underground portion of your water service lateral has a history of freezing, if the Utility feels it may be in danger of freezing, or if it has frozen, the Utility will advise you of measures to take. The most common advice the Utility gives is to continuously run a ¼ inch stream of water (the size of a pencil) until frost has disappeared from the ground. As long as water continues to run at a high enough rate it should not freeze. The Utility offers some additional advice once you have been notified to run water in FAQ #3.
A. A noticeable reduction in the amount of water you see flowing out of your tap(s).B. A reduction in water pressureC. Discoloration of the waterD. Cold water temperature of 34 degrees or less
Items A, B, and C, are likely a result of an ice cube or plug forming in the service lateral. The discoloration would be from the ice plug loosening deposits on the inside of the pipe.
A. If this is the first time your water service lateral has frozen and it cannot be determined if the freezing is on the customer’s or the Utility’s side, the Utility is responsible for the cost of thawing, unless item c, below, applies.
B. If it is known the water service lateral has frozen on either the customer’s side or the Utility’s side, the cost of thawing is the responsibility of the party whose service lateral has the “problem.”
C. If the customer’s portion of the water service lateral is made of non-metallic material, the Utility is not responsible for thawing the lateral.
There are a number of water service laterals which are known to routinely freeze each year. Some of those freeze on the customer’s portion of the water service lateral and some on the Utility’s portion of the lateral. The Utility is required to annually notify those customers whose service laterals freeze on their portion to either take measures to prevent freezing or, at their option, pay for thawing the service lateral if it freezes. If the freezing is something known to occur on the Utility portion of the water service lateral, the Utility either takes measures to prevent freezing or takes care of any costs to prevent freezing. You may also wish to review the PSC’s FAQ on this topic. See map of non-metallic service locations
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of human-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s. Their ability to repel water and oil and withstand high temperatures has made PFAS a particularly useful ingredient in industrial and commercial products, including non-stick products, stain- and water-repellent clothing and fire-fighting foams. These chemicals do not easily break down in the environment and have been known to accumulate in the environment and humans. In a nationwide study, low levels of PFAS were determined to be present in the blood of most Americans. Two PFAS, perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), are the most extensively studied of these chemicals.
Currently, there is limited regulatory authority of PFAS at the federal level. In 2016, the EPA issued a non-enforceable Lifetime Health Advisory level for PFOA and PFOS of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) in drinking water. EPA is expected to update its advisory in late 2022.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has proposed drinking water and groundwater standards for 18 PFAS compounds. These standards are based on recommendations that DHS established in 2019 and 2020. To learn more about how groundwater standards are developed, visit the DHS groundwater standards website at dhs.wisconsin.gov and search “groundwater standards”.
For more information on groundwater standards, visit The Department of Natural Resource’s page NR 140 groundwater quality standards update.
The proposed drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS was changed from 20 ppt to 70 ppt to reflect EPA’s 2016 health advisory, but this change does not impact DHS’ health-based recommendations. DHS concluded that EPA’s health advisory of 70 ppt does not reflect the latest science on health effects of PFOA and PFOS – particularly those on the immune system – and it does not adequately estimate exposure risks to infants. DHS recommends that everyone take action when levels of PFOA and PFOS in their drinking water are above 20 ppt.
Although PFAS have been used extensively since the 1950s, experts are only beginning to understand their potential impacts on human health. This understanding continues to evolve based on ongoing research. Two of the most studied PFAS chemicals are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA). Current studies suggest that exposure to high levels of PFOS and PFOA may:
Scientists are still learning about the health effects from exposures to mixtures of PFAS. For more information, visit the CDC's PFAS and Your Health website and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) PFAS webpage.
The major routes of exposure to PFAS are:
Additionally, limited exposure may occur from consumer products:
*Research has shown that today's consumer products usually have low amounts of PFAS, especially when compared to levels found in contaminated drinking water. However, small exposures to PFAS are possible when a person comes in contact with or uses products such as:
If you have questions or concerns about products you use in your home, contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772.
Because PFAS are found at low levels in some foods and in the environment (air, water, soil, etc.) completely eliminating exposure is unlikely. However, certain actions can be taken to reduce your overall exposure to PFAS, including the following.
*Recent federal efforts to remove PFAS from consumer products have reduced the likelihood of exposure in consumer products; however, some products may still contain them. If you have questions or concerns about products you use in your home, contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772.
PFAS do not easily enter the body through the skin. Therefore, touching or having skin contact with water, products or packaging containing PFAS is not a major source of PFAS exposure. Even if your water supply contains PFAS, it is still safe to use it for showering, bathing, and washing hands. However, when bathing infants and children, be sure to monitor them and discourage swallowing of bath or shower water.
If your municipal or private well water has PFAS levels at or above DHS health advisory levels:
A blood test can measure PFAS in your blood, but this is not a test routinely done in a doctor's office. While it is possible to get your blood tested for PFAS, test results will only tell you how much PFAS is present in your blood and not whether your health has been, or will be, affected by PFAS. At this time, the scientific understanding of PFAS is not sufficient to determine health risks based on the level of PFAS in a person's blood. Most people in the U.S. have measurable amounts of PFAS in their body because PFAS are commonly used in many consumer and industrial products.
If you have specific health concerns or would like to have your blood tested, please talk with your doctor. Some of the health effects possibly linked to PFAS exposure, like high cholesterol, can be checked as part of your annual physical. It is important to have regular check-ups and screenings.
Additional information on blood testing can be found on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) PFAS Blood Testing page. You can also read their Talking to Your Doctor about Exposure to PFAS fact sheet. The ATSDR is a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Most people in the U.S. have been exposed to PFAS and have PFAS in their blood, especially PFOS and PFOA. During 2013-2014, the general population had, on average, below 5 micrograms per liter, or µg/L, of PFOA in their blood. In comparison, in 2000, highly exposed workers in PFAS manufacturing facilities had average measurements of more than 1000 µg/L of PFOA in their blood. As the production and use of PFOS and PFOA in the United States has declined, their levels in blood have gone down as well. From 1999 to 2014, blood PFOA levels among the general U.S. population have declined by more than 60% and blood PFOS levels have declined by more than 80%. For more information on PFAS blood level trends in the U.S., please read the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) fact sheet on PFAS in the U.S. Population. The ATSDR is a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Contact the Wisconsin Department of Health Services by emailing DHSEnvHealth@dhs.wi.gov.
DHS PFAS Information
DHS PFAS Filtration Brochure
DNR PFAS Information
DNR Fish Consumption Advisories
ATSDR: PFAS and your health
ATSDR: Talking to your doctor about exposure to PFAS
EPA PFAS Information
The proposed construction will replace an outdated and unsuitable main building including the public works garage. It will replace a collection of cold storage outbuildings and allow all emergency response vehicles and equipment to be stored in a minimally heated space. There is no space in the current facility to create separation between the equipment bay and machinery for metal working such as welders, band saw, bearing press, lathe, etc. which are safety issues. Existing buildings have poor insulation, inadequate HVAC equipment, and poor security features, allowing for unrestricted and unauthorized access. Staff labor is redirected to building maintenance and emergency response is hampered by cramped conditions and time lost, particularly for winter operations. The proposed project will also combine park operations offices and equipment with other Village administration and equipment at one site.
The first Municipal Building(s) at 5500 Schofield Avenue date back to 1956. As the Town and Village have grown over 60+ years, the main building, garage, and the site have been renovated and remodeled about every 10 years. More recently the Village has struggled to meet changing needs for technology, energy efficiency, and building security. The Village retained Kueny Architects of Pleasant Prairie, WI, in 2015 to conduct a condition assessment of the Municipal Buildings at all sites including Public Safety and Parks. Kueny’s recommendation was to REPLACE the existing administrative offices and public works garages, combining also with parks administration, at a central site. Major points include:
Consider that Weston is the second largest municipality in Marathon County with a current population of just over 15,000 expected to increase to over 22,000 by 2040, representing half of the expected growth in Marathon County over the next 20 years. A modern facility to serve the next generation…and beyond…is needed.
Yes. The Village, with assistance from its architects and engineers, determined renovation of the existing buildings and site could be considered, but renovation would not resolve spatial issues and ADA accessibility issues throughout the building. Spatial issues include locations, layout, and security of offices for the present and for future needs. ADA accessibility issues apply to restrooms and to other areas of the building. Other challenges are the condition of the current electrical system, heating and ventilation deficiencies, and undersized plumbing. (See “Facilities Evaluation” page)
The current estimated project cost is $16.6 M. The building itself accounts for $14.4 M of this cost. The land purchase, which was not in the original project estimates, accounts for $1.0M of the total project. The balance of $1.2 M is in site preparation, shop equipment, architect’s fees, furniture, and contingencies.
Building costs change over time. The original estimate was made 4 years ago. The construction industry uses a tool called the RS Means Index to monitor building cost fluctuations over time. According to the RS Means Index, a building project estimated at $12.5 M in July of 2016 would now be approximately $14.4 M in January of 2020. The Village also purchased the new property on Camp Phillips Rd in the spring of 2020, adding $ 1 M to the project total.
It is estimated this project will increase the tax rate by an average of $0.86 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation over the 20-year repayment term. The estimated debt for this project will increase the annual property tax for a home assessed at $150,000* by an average of $129.71 during this 20-year term ($10.81 per month). For a $300,000 home the increased average annual property tax over the 20-year term is estimated to be $259.41 annually ($21.62 per month).
The actual tax rate for this debt will vary year by year based on the final project cost repayment schedule for the bonds, fluctuations in interest rates based on market conditions, and Village growth rate.
Estimated Financing Plan Tax Impact
*Single-family home statistics in Weston (Per Village Assessment records as of 12/07/2020)
Average assessed value is $158,800. Median assessed value is $149,700
This project is one of many the Village needs to consider as it plans for continuing to provide services to the taxpayers. The condition of our facilities impacts our delivery of services and ultimately the value of your property.
If the building project is not done there certainly would be less money borrowed in total for capital projects – those that replace deteriorated assets like buildings, streets, bridges, sidewalks, etc. However, it is not realistic to think these assets will not require replacement over time (just as a homeowner must replace things like their roof, driveway, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or other parts of their property that have a finite useful life). Deferring a project does not eliminate the need, it only kicks the can down the road and makes it more costly in the future.
So, the answer to the question is, sure, the Village portion of property taxes for debt would remain lower for some time, but the need for a new facility does not go away and future Village residents will pay more.
As the Village and the architect proceeded with the preliminary design on the current site, it became apparent construction on the existing site would leave no room for future expansion. Rather than attempt to acquire additional property adjacent to the current site that was not for sale, the Village observed the former G&B Produce site at 4707 Camp Phillips Road was on the market and purchased the property. The new site gives the Village 13 acres for a building project vs. only about 8 acres at the current site and is still centrally located.
Another benefit of having a new site is having no interruption of day-to-day operations during construction. If building were to take place on the existing site, public works would have lost its garages and mechanic bays during the construction and would have had to temporarily locate at the Ryan Street yard waste site. This would have required additional cost for improvements to the garage at Ryan Street as a temporary base of operations for Public Works and created operational inefficiencies during the construction.
The existing site and buildings will eventually be sold. That could be in their “as-is” condition or with the buildings demolished and the site prepared for a new development.
Comparison is under construction.
Energy saving and conservation capabilities have improved greatly over the past 60 years. A new building will include cost-effective technologies for HVAC along with modern controls and insulation, for the Village’s situation. Modern (LED) lighting systems and controls will contribute to a much more energy efficient building.
With unknown developments for the future of alternative energies, the building design will include provisions to add solar collectors either at the time of construction or later. A major hurdle to overcome with solar power is finding a cost-effective method of storing the generated electricity.
Sustainable Design Upgrades to be incorporated in the new building include:
•Roof Ready for Solar Panels - Future
•Energy recovery units on ventilation equipment
•Super-insulation of building envelope
•Sun shading devices for occupied spaces
•Use of natural light
•High efficiency motors
•Minimize exterior heat absorption (high reflectance low emissive)
•Low E double glazed windows
•Daylight & Views
•Lighting controls (occupancy sensors)
•High efficiency LED lighting
• Waste Oil Heaters
The Village must follow public bidding law for this project. This requires advertising for bids and award to the lowest responsible bidder. Qualified local companies will be given the same ability to bid as others from outside the area. A project such as this will be awarded to a general contractor who then, usually, hires other companies (sub-contractors) for specialty trade work such as plumbing, HVAC, electrical, site work, etc. The general contractor or any of the sub-contractors may well be locally based.
Restricting the ability to bid on the work to local contractors could increase project costs by limiting competition and is also not legal.
No. The Village is not required to hold a referendum since much of the purpose of this project is for public works.
Replacement of the current Municipal Facility at 5500 Schofield Avenue has been considered since 1999, just 3 years following the Village’s incorporation. The original facilities were built at a time (1956) when the Village’s population was under 3,000. Consider that Weston is now the second largest municipality in Marathon County with a current population of just over 15,000 expected to increase to over 22,000 by 2040, representing half of the expected growth in Marathon County over the next 20 years. The Village has outgrown its “home.” A modern facility that can serve Village taxpayers effectively and efficiently for the next generation…and beyond…is needed.
The current facility creates inefficiencies in the use of taxpayer dollars such as:
The current building poses safety concerns in today’s world where control of entry by non-employees and multiple exit options for occupants have become necessities.
Attempting to sink millions of dollars into the existing facility is not the answer.
There is a consensus opinion among the members of the Building Committee that a new facility is needed. On December 9, 2020, the Committee unanimously approved forwarding the recommendation to proceed with completing design of a new municipal facility to the Village Board. The design and bidding documents are to include some alternate bid items to consider upon opening of bids.
There are still details to determine and more public outreach to follow. The goal is to have a facility that allows Village staff to serve the taxpayers of the Village of Weston effectively by working more efficiently.
Building to Serve.