EVANSDALE – It has been controversial for months, with council members, the mayor and dozens of citizens packing council rooms, all weighing in on the best sewage treatment plant option for their city.
But with deadlines looming, extended and passed – and with McClure Engineering almost threatening to walk away from the process – Evansdale city council ultimately chose a design to move forward with, in order to comply with the demands of disinfection from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. by 2022.
The five-member council voted, 3-2, to approve a new wastewater treatment plant on the dry side of the seawall – which will be located on Highway 20 and River Forest Road – at an estimated cost of $ 13. , $ 79 million.
Ward 3 Council Member Steve Seible and General Council Member Lynn Bender voted against.
After 90 minutes of Tuesday’s meeting, which was almost entirely about the factory, Seible and Bender argued that the cost shouldn’t be as high as for the cheapest option for the board, and pinched their company to engineering on everything from moving power into the factory gate to seeing if some improvements were needed.
âWe spend, spend, spend; borrow, borrow, borrow, âSeible said. “What (are) the basics of doing this moving forward, rather than all the bells and whistles? Because I honestly don’t believe it’s necessary.
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âThen we fundamentally disagree,â said McClure rep, Derick Anderson, noting that they were recruited less than a year ago to come up with options for Evansdale’s looming disinfection deadline. âThese are the options on the table. There is a long process to get there, but if we are at a point where we have to debate the scope, then we have to rebuild trust or we have to withdraw. “
Ward 4 council member Dick Dewater then put forward a motion to approve the new factory, with the support of Ward 2 council member Gene Walker. Some in the audience were audibly shocked, as the discussion so far had mainly focused on getting the cheapest option even lower, and a few said citizens had been excluded from the process.
âWe’ve been talking about it for a year and a half, two years,â said Mayor Doug Faas. âJust because some people are late for the party, we discussed it. “
Here are Evansdale’s 7 options for updating their wastewater treatment plant
The new plant design, which would demolish the old plant at 1212 River Forest Road, would be built from the floodplain, deal with nutrient reduction, and use aerobic granular sludge – a 30-year-old European technology no still approved by the Iowa DNR, but used in other states and reviewed by other cities like Cedar Rapids.
It was also the most expensive option on the table, at least in advance. But Dewater and Walker argued that they thought the city would spend even more on a simple option when MNR inevitably added nutrient reduction and floodplain requirements in five to 10 years.
âAs a fixed income homeowner, it’s easy to spend $ 7 million (for the cheapest option) – that’s less,â Walker said. “But as a board member, do we really want to spend this now and then spend another $ 5-6 million?” “
Bender said it was also possible that true regionalization of wastewater would become a viable option with Waterloo or some other entity by then.
“We would like to spend as little as possible, because we may want to regionalize in 5 to 10 years,” she said. âSpend as little as possible now, meet our demands and move forward. “
Faas said he thought it was a shortsighted approach.
“I’m just warning you that (the $ 7 million option) could end up being a very, very expensive band-aid that we’ll have to rip off and throw away,” he said. “It’s not the best for the city in 20, 30, 40 years.”
At its current preliminary cost, construction of the new plant will gradually increase monthly sewer bills to $ 37 starting July 1, 2021, $ 48.50 starting July 1, 2022, and $ 53 starting July 1, 2023, where Faas said the rate is expected to stabilize.
An earlier version of this story distorted the monthly increase in the sewer bill, based on earlier information from July. Mayor Doug Faas said the new figures were obtained after taking into account the rate of commercial ownership.
Evansdale Sewer Upgrade Brings Sticker Shock