Treatment plant land deal could be set by this fall

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Darryl Enriquez
Thursday, September 9, 2010
— The city’s purchase of about a dozen acres of farmland for a new $9.2 million drinking water project on the northeast side could be formalized as soon as this fall, a city official said Wednesday.

During a recent closed session, the city council instructed the city attorney to begin drafting a purchase agreement with the property owner, City Administrator Sam Tapson said. Council members generally were accepting of the landowner’s offer, he said.

The pending purchase price remains secret until formally approved by a council vote in open session. Project financing will be through long-term borrowing.

City officials want to purchase land near Highway 11 and Cobb Road in adjacent Lafayette Township. The project includes sinking two new wells into the deep aquifer and building a water treatment plant and storage facility, Tapson said

The new plant would replace an aging, south-side facility on Centralia Street and provide a new water source for anticipated commercial and residential growth on the northeast side through 2030.

“The cost of repairs at the Centralia plant are nickel and diming us to death,” Tapson said.

Plans call for closing the aging water facility as the new plant becomes operational, Tapson said.

“The Centralia facility needs replacement because the equipment and building components are beyond their useful life,” according to a report from Baxter & Woodman, the city’s consulting engineers on the project.

The state Department of Natural Resources has labeled the Centralia location as “vulnerable” due to nearby groundwater contamination. The agency likely would not allow rebuilding a water treatment plant there, according to the report.

Two of the city’s four operating wells are at the Centralia site. The city’s other wells are at the Lakeland treatment plant, near the courthouse.

The first phase of the project involves the land purchase and drilling two new wells into the deep aquifer, Tapson said.

Completion of preliminary work is expected by the end of 2011 at a cost of $1.6 million, he said.

The next phase—building the treatment plant and the housing for new wells—carries an additional cost of $7.6 million, he said. That work would happen 2013 through 2015.

Treatment includes softening and chlorinating the water, Tapson said.

The city is working with the DNR to obtain permits to drill the wells, Tapson said. Elkhorn officials have yet to decide if the city would annex the land that borders the city, he said.

Elkhorn, on average, consumes up to 1.5 million gallons daily. Its peak consumption is just below 2.5 million gallons daily.

The four current wells can produce just below 3 million gallons daily. The two new wells would increase production capability to about 4 million gallons daily, covering projected average daily consumption through 2030.

If peak water consumption reaches a projected 8 million gallons a day by 2030, a third well would need to be drilled at the new site to provide adequate water, according to the report.

Last updated: 3:01 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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