Treatment plant OKed
June 28, 2013
Coalville’s long-awaited wastewater treatment plant is set to finally begin construction this summer, and according to Mayor Duane Schmidt, it comes at just the right time.
Since 2006, the City of Coalville has been looking to "address concerns about land ownership, increasing maintenance costs and future capacity" associated with the existing facility, according to information provided on the city’s website.
The treatment plant, which is located on land leased on a 50-year agreement from the United States Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), was set to have its lease expire in October of 2014. The new facility will be located just west of the Rail Trail at the dead end of 100 North in Coalville. Schmidt says this brand new, state-of-the-art facility has been one of his top priorities.
"We thought it was prudent for us to build a new facility," Schmidt said. "The elevation of this facility is higher, and it’s not very far from the current one."
Over the last several years, the city has had problems finding funding for the plant. In August of 2010, the city signed an agreement for a grant under the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) 595 program to fund $5 million of the estimated $9.5 million project, according to Schmidt.
Since the United States Congress was unable to act on federal budget appropriations in December of 2010, however, the ACOE grant was withdrawn. Schmidt says the city had to start looking for funding all over again after this.
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"We were back to the drawing board," Schmidt said.
Stepping up to the plate in April of 2011 to provide funding was the Utah Division of Water Quality (DWQ). Coalville had then approached DWQ, who will be funding the $9.5 million treatment plant with a $3.2 million loan and a $6.3 million grant. The condition for this, however, is that sewer rates must be increased. Schmidt says the time for that is past due.
"The previous administration did not want to touch the fees for water and sewer. They thought it was political suicide," Schmidt said. "We need to keep up with the times; 1995 was the last fee increase."
As part of the funding package, DWQ mandated that sewer rates be put at $45.94 to pay off the loan. Prior to the resolution in 2010, user rates were $26 per month. Currently rates are at $40 per month and must be raised accordingly.
Schmidt is confident that such fee increases will prove beneficial for Coalville residents.
"This new facility will be much better for the community at large. It will secure our future," Schmidt said.
Groundbreaking for the treatment plant is planned for mid-August and construction is expected to take 18 months. Schmidt said an AT&T fiber-optic cable is located near the project site and will need to be moved in "the next week or two."
The look of the new plant will also be vastly different from the previous one.
"People generally don’t like the look of treatment plants," Schmidt said. "These buildings will actually be designed to look like agricultural barns."
For more information on Coalville’s Wastewater Treatment Facility Project, visit http://www.coalvillecity.org.
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