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Council applies for loan toward future wastewater treament facility improvements

July 12, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

Due to new regulations by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), improvements will need to be made to the current wastewater treatment facility in the near future, with the City Council on Monday, July 2 approving an appilcation for a loan.

According to Heather Thomas, a representative of Clapsaddle-Garber Associates who will be the engineer on the project, the State Revolving Fund is a zero percent interest loan for three years to pay for all of the planning, engineering and environmental investigation needed. The DNR has presented a compliance schedule to outline what the City of Traer and Traer Muncipal Utilities (TMU) must accomplish in an orderly fashion.

"There are a number of towns across Iowa that the DNR is requring them to upgrade their facilities due to toughter regulations on levels of ammonia nitrogen," Pat Stief, TMU General Manager said. "We are currently early in the planning and designing phase to determine way to reduce nitrogen levels in our system. There are several options out there, but we want to one that's best for our community. We are waiting for the engineers to tell us how to proceed."

Cost estimates are unavailable this early in the process, but Clapsaddle-Garber hopes to keep costs as low as possible. However, Thomas also stated to the Council this upgrade is "probably" in the realm of $2-4 million from start to finish.

"I feel optismistic you will be under," Thomas said. "Many small communities are going through the same thing. Le Grand, Evansdale, Montour, Gilman, you name them and they are going though a similar thing."

According to City Clerk Jon Panfil, TMU is technically in charge of the sewer lagoons and collect revenues, but loans must go through the city first. The City of Traer went through a similar process of sewer lagoon upgrades 20 years ago. The project will be paid back with sewer revenue and rates will be dependent on the cost of the upgrade. In fact, the 20 year old project is still being paid off, but will be done by the time this new project begins.

Construction is planned to be two or three years out with the fund paying the the planning and design phase mainly. Updates will be given at further City Council and TMU meetings.

In other news, work on the Traer Municipal Pool parking lot will resume this fall after the pool is closed for the season. According to City Councilman Josh Youel, work would have made it more difficult for people to get to the entrance and patrons would have had to park on the streets.

"When the pool is closed, True Builders will come and put the lot in," Youel said. "A recent $6,200 donation puts us well above what we need for the lot."

A honor wall will also be built to recognize pool donors. Stay tuned to the Traer Star-Clipper for future updates on this project.

Youel also met with representatives of the Traer Legion Auxiliary and Martin Brothers, a commercial kitchen/appliance provider, to discuss upgrades to the Memorial Building kitchen. Appliances being considered are ovens, dishwasher and two-door cooler. Cabinet and countertop space may be removed to make more room. Numbers for the painting gutters were not available before the council meeting.



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