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City to open bids for new wastewater plant in January

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Construction is expected to begin in January on a project to treat the wastewater from two Le Mars industries and prepare for future growth of the city.

The Le Mars City Council is considering a 10 percent increase in rates for all sewer users to pay for the new wastewater treatment facilities and improvements to the existing treatment.

The city's largest industries, Wells Enterprises and Dean Foods, have each projected an increase of more than 40 percent in wastewater treatment due to growth of their businesses.

The council is also considering changes in the charges for the industries.

The changes would add the cost of construction of the new industrial wastewater treatment plant and operations and maintenance fees to the industries' sewer user bills.

The industrial wastewater treatment facility to treat some of the wastewater for Dean Foods and Wells Enterprises is planned 2 miles west of of the city on 120 acres of city-owned land.

The new industrial wastewater treatment facilities and related construction at the existing wastewater plant in Le Mars could cost between $17.4-$18.1 million, according to Kris Swanson of Bolton and Menk, Inc., of Ames.

The work is to be divided into three contracts, Swanson said.

The new industrial treatment plant, changes at the existing treatment plant and equipment to make the change for the two industries will probably cost $13.5-$14.5 million, Swanson told the Le Mars City Council Tuesday.

The second contract for the project is at the new industrial treatment site and will add a lagoon capable of storing 11-million gallons of biosolids or treated waste before it is applied to farm land.

"We're adding a second storage lagoon onto the existing 6-million gallon storage lagoon; doing some repairs to the existing storage lagoon; and setting both lagoons up for some decanting and better operation," Swanson said.

The cost estimate for the second contract is $2.5-$2.9 million.

The third contract for wastewater improvements -- to span 6 miles -- is estimated to cost $1.4-$1.7 million dollars, he said.

This (part of the total project) is from near Dean Foods, to take the wastewater to the existing city wastewater facility and by pipeline to the new industrial treatment facility 2 miles west of Le Mars.

The third contract would also involve purcchasing equipment and construction to bring the treated wastewater back from the rural location to the current treatment facility in Le Mars.

Then the wastewater would be blended with other treated wastewater and released into the Floyd River.

"The third part of the project is large enough that in the next 20-30 years, all of Le Mars wastewater could be pumped out to the new industrial wastewater treatment location," Swanson explained Tuesday.

In March of last year, the council received preliminary cost estimates to expand wastewater treatment in Le Mars to meet growth needs.

The costs estimated at Tuesday's council meeting are roughly about 15 percent higher, Swanson said.

The changes are due to some of the details Bolton and Menk had when the project reached final design as well as cost increases during the past 18 months, he said.

Councilman John Leonard asked for details about the new lagoon construction.

The lagoon will be lined with a specific type of clay, bentonite, Swanson said.

"We put concrete rip rap on the sides to protect that liner and there are some ramps and a concrete bottom," the consultant explained.

The plans and the consultant's opinion about cost estimates were presented during a public hearing Tuesday to allow anyone to comment on the project.

No one attended and the city council adopted the plans and estimates of cost.

Bids for all the work are to be opened Dec. 13 and considered at the regular noon meeting of the city council Dec. 18.

Construction is to begin in January and end in December of next year.

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