Pocatello is making room for growth. Nowhere is that clearer than at the Northgate development.
The plans for the development’s water infrastructure are being finalized after the Department of Environmental Quality asked the city to take a closer look at the plans.
The city is conducting a study into the wastewater treatment plant to make sure the facility can handle the growth.
“Yeah, so that’s about a year-and-a-half to two-year process while we complete that study and help us figure out what the future looks like for our wastewater treatment plant and when we need to start adding capacity out there,” said Jeff Mansfield, the Pocatello public works director.
After looking into different options, the city settled on installing a sewer line on Fairgrounds Road and plans to keep future sewer lines and pumps within the Pocatello city limits.
Utility rates are expected to stay the same for existing customers.
“We recently completed a rate study and that rate study insures that we’re utilizing the ratepayers funds to pay for existing infrastructure and maintenance and upgrades to that,” Mansfield said. “However, whenever a new development comes in, it’s their responsibility to buy into the system and also to implement their own infrastructure to their development.”
Sewer, drainage and drinking water lines are being put into the ground by the developers.
The city has been drilling wells to find an additional water source for the Northgate district, but, so far, hasn’t found a viable source.
“If we would have put that well on service, it would have been the worst well we had in the city of Pocatello. So, we made the decision that it wasn’t really worth developing a well that had poor water quality,” Mansfield said.
As the search continues, water will be used from the highland area.
Pocatello and Chubbuck are in talks to collaborate on the project, but no specifics have been finalized yet.
“Chubbuck continues to actively welcome and promote cooperation with city of Pocatello, Bannock County and DEQ to seek out regional solutions to infrastructure needs,” said Rodney Burch, Chubbuck’s public works director.
The city’s plans on the back end aren’t slowing the project down. Local commercial realtor Don Zebe, who’s leading the search for businesses to move into the development, said the project is well underway for the property west of Olympus.
The city doesn’t expect many traffic interruptions as construction continues on the project.
The first 3,000 homes are expected to be completed by the end of 2020, according to the original timeline.