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Town pursuing new treatment plant


Last updated 6/3/2015 at 10:16am

After years of study and political upheaval around the subject, Coulee Dam is on the path to building a new modular wastewater treatment plant, following a decision by the town council last month.

The new facility will be built on the existing site with about a third of the capacity of that called for in an earlier facility plan.

After an alternatives study, the longterm costs of building the new plant, versus refurbishing the old one, are projected to be less.

A summary presented to the council May 13 assumes a $5.4 million funding package, three quarters of which comes from a US Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan at 2.7 percent interest and a 25 percent grant.

Depending on the grant-to-loan mix, the projected monthly rate per equivalent residential unit should range from $55 to $61.

The expected life of the new facility is about 40 years. An argument for building new against rebuilding the old plant was that old infrastructure is likely not to last that long, forcing more investment.

In pushing for passage, Mayor Greg Wilder said the vote would not be irreversible if a subsequent visit by town personnel to a similar facility turned up doubts about the direction. But it would allow the town to start looking for more grants to fund it.

“I believe we need to start finding funds, other than just a loan, to do this,” Wilder said.

Councilmember Ben Alling said he didn’t know how the citizens wanted him to vote. Wilder said the town has had a year to discuss it, with meetings and hearings on the process.

Town Superintendent Barry Peacock and plant operator Tim Lynch each said they were leaning toward the modular plant selection, but each had reservations.

Alling abstained during the vote at the May 13 meeting, but the rest of the council voted in favor of moving ahead with the new plant.


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