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New wastewater facility to serve expanding businesses

Friday, November 9, 2012

(Photo)
(Site plan by Bolton and Menk, Ames) An expansion of city of Le Mars wastewater treatment facilities is planned 2 miles west of Le Mars. Some industrial wastewater from Dean Foods and Wells Enterprises would be treated at new facilities estimated to cost $16-20 million. Comments on the project will be considered by the Le Mars City Council on Nov. 20.
Editor's note: This is the first of two stories on changes in wastewater treatment facilities and rates being discussed by the Le Mars City Council. Monday's edition of the Daily Sentinel will include a story on how the rates will affect sewer users.

The largest customers for the city of Le Mars wastewater treatment plan to expand their businesses.

The growth will put more wastewater from Wells Enterprises and Dean Foods into the city's treatment system.

The city plans to handle the higher volume of wastewater by building new industrial treatment facilities on 120 acres of land the city owns 2 miles west of Le Mars.

Operation of the new $16-20 million facility could begin in December of next year, according to a preliminary project schedule from Bolton and Menk.

The Ames firm is the city's wastewater consultant.

Greg Sindt, of Bolton and Menk, reviewed specifics of the proposed project at the Le Mars City Council meeting Tuesday.

The new industrial treatment plant is proposed at a location adjacent to a 6-million-gallon lagoon that stores a byproduct of waste treatment -- sludge or biosolids, Sindt told the council.

Wastewater from Wells South Ice Cream Plant on 18th Street Southwest and Dean Foods milk plant on 12th Street Southwest will be pumped to the current wastewater plant on the city's north side, Sindt explained.

Some of the wastewater will be treated at the existing facility to fully utilize the capacity there and some of wastewater will be pumped to the new industrial wastewater facility, he said.

"Treated wastewater from the new facility will be pumped back into town, blended with the discharge from the existing plant and then discharged into the river," Sindt said.

Biosolids from the new industrial treatment facility will be stored in a new 11-million-gallon lagoon, based on the new facility plans.

There will also be some renovation work at the existing facility, Sindt said.

With the new facility, the city would be able to treat 3.3 million gallons of wastewater each day, according to Scott Langel, city administrator.

The new industrial treatment facility will add 500,000 gallons of daily wastewater treatment capacity to the 2.8 million gallon daily capacity at the existing wastewater treatment facility, Langel said.

Treated wastewater from the industrial facility will be pumped back to the existing treatment facility to eliminate the need for two permits to discharge treated wastewater into the river, Langel also told the council.

The time schedule for the project is tight, Sindt said.

"Construction is to start in January and be operational in December 2013 with everything completed in March 2014," the consultant said.

A permit for the project from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is required.

Sindt said, "Normally that takes three to four months, but we've requested expediting, and I think the (DNR) director will give us a hand on that.

"The governor has stated that he wants to expedite any projects that involve economic development of creating jobs and this certainly fits in that category."

One of the next steps toward construction is a time for comments from the public.

Le Mars City Council members will hear any comments at the next regular meeting which will be at noon on Nov. 20 at City Hall, 40 Central Ave. S.E.

After that, contractors bids for the work are to be opened at 2 p.m. Dec. 13 and considered at a council meeting Dec. 18.

The city plans to pay for the project with an increase in sewer user charges paid by residents, businesses and industries.

The rate changes proposed will be published in a news story in the Daily Sentinel Monday.



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