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Elmer Council OKs search for sewer plant funding


Elmer City’s council approved a resolution Feb. 21 allowing the city to apply for funding to build its own wastewater treatment facility.

There was no discussion of the resolution before the vote at the council meeting.

There has been bad blood between Elmer City and Coulee Dam regarding their shared sewage treatment plant and Coulee Dam’s process for building a new one that Elmer City representatives have felt left out of, feel overcharged for, and that they say violates a 50-year contract from 1975 between the two cities.

“It has been well documented and discussed why Elmer City is moving forward with this application,” Mayor Jesse Tillman told The Star in an email, “and remember, end of the day, it is still just an application. All options available to Elmer City are being looked into to find the best course of actions for its residents.”

The council has discussed the idea of building their own facility in past meetings, expressing the desire to establish independence from Coulee Dam.

The resolution passed last month cites the recommendation in the town’s federally funded feasibility study for a new treatment plant as reason to apply for the funding.

“The results of said feasibility study indicate that it would be financially beneficial for the Town of Elmer City and its residents to install and maintain its own treatment facility,” the resolution reads.

The feasibility study from Belsby Engineering compared different routes Elmer City could take regarding a treatment facility, including different designs, as well as continuing to share with Coulee Dam.

“After reviewing all of the information… it is our recommendation that the Advantex AX-MAX be the selected alternative for the Town of Elmer City,” the study reads. “The combination of low [operating and maintenance] costs, minimal land requirements, and ability to meet discharge limits to the river make this selection the recommended alternative for the Town.”

That alternative, according to the study, would have an annual operating and maintenance cost of $86,202, compared to the $146,400 annual O&M costs of sharing a facility with Coulee Dam.

However, the total costs of operation and maintenance for 20 years, plus construction for building their own plant is estimated at $4,189,523, compared to $3,026,383 for the total cost to continue sharing with Coulee Dam, making building their own plant economically feasible in the case of getting funds for the project, but not feasible without receiving external funding.

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