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Elmer City reviews sewer plant plans

 


Elmer City’s town council got another look at Coulee Dam’s wastewater treatment plant project at its meeting Thursday night.

Gray & Osborne, Coulee Dam’s engineering firm, put on a 30-minute PowerPoint program and answered questions from the council along the way.

Elmer City has stated that it has hired a law firm to help the council examine a current 50-year agreement between the two municipalities on handling Elmer’s City’s sewer needs.

The dispute, which keeps coming up, is whether Elmer City is a partner in Coulee Dam’s wastewater treatment plant or just a customer.

The agreement does state that the plant is solely owned by Coulee Dam.

Gray & Osborne engineers pointed out to the council that the firm has made four presentations about the new project, two of them earlier this year. Elmer City council members recently had the opportunity to tour the existing plant in Coulee Dam.

The $4.9 million project will dramatically affect the rate that citizens pay in the two towns.

Elmer City will be charged 25 percent of the cost of the project, the direct proportion that town contributes to the sewer flow to the plant.

Coulee Dam currently has been guaranteed a 2.7-percent, 20-year loan from the State Revolving Fund. The town is also trying to get the loan through the State’s Public Works Trust Fund, which would reduce the interest rate to 0.5 to 1 percent.

Gray & Osborne stated that this could mean a $1-$6 reduction in the increase to monthly rates to consumers over the life of the loan.

It was also stated that it was possible to get Indian Health Services involved, further reducing costs to consumers.

Greg Wilder, who has objected to the project, asked why Indian Health Services was not asked to take part in the project earlier. Coulee Dam officials, earlier, had stated that they had tried to contact IHS but that the organization didn’t respond.

The IHS recently funded a major water service project costing about $900,000, for Elmer City.

Also present at Thursday’s meeting by Elmer City’s invitation was Dan Thall of Columbia Northwest Engineering of Moses Lake. He didn’t comment on Gray & Osborne’s presentation.

 

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