$1.5-2 million to upgrade sewer

The lagoons and equipment at the Lime Springs sewer plant need upgraded to the tune of around $2 million.

By Marcie Klomp

Fifty thousand dollars is a drop in the bucket to the estimated $1.5-2 million to upgrade the sewer plant, but it still needs to be done, Lime Springs City Council learned at its regular meeting on Oct. 2.

It will roughly cost about $50,000 to get the two city wells compliant with DNR mandates. This includes testing and assessing the wells to see what type of equipment is needed and purchasing and installing two pumps.

That seems minor compared to the amount of money needed to fix the sewer plant, which is estimated to cost upwards of $2 million.

Mayor Barb Robinson and maintenance person Casey Sebastian recently attended a meeting with Lime Springs Beef, LLC and DNR officials in Des Moines.

Lime Springs and other cities across the state had applied for a new sewer permit years ago, but the DNR has not issued new ones because guidelines changed. Robinson asked them to expedite Lime Springs’ permit so the city could start the process of getting the sewer plant up to code.

“With the new permit, we will have to redo the lagoon system. We don’t have a choice. And it’s a huge expense,” she explained.

City Engineer George Tekippe said CDBG grants offer up to $300,000 for water or wastewater projects. He also said the state revolving fund is a loan, but the interest rate is at 1.75 percent. “We are already looking at similar facilities as yours since we can’t trust your numbers. It doesn’t look good.” Numbers coming from the sewer plant were not accurate for many years.

He went on to say Lime Springs’ lagoon was designed for 280,000 gallons per day. At the peak, the lagoon takes in two million gallons a day.

Robinson said, “It’s either do it or start using a five-gallon bucket in our houses.”

She added, “We have a problem at the well we have to correct. We have a problem at the sewer plant we have to correct. The DNR is willing to work with you [council] if you are willing to work with them. This will probably take two to four years.”

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