The new waste water treatment plant has been in the works for a very long time. The City was notified in 2011 that a new plant would need to be part of their discussions and plans. Changes were made in the permitting process from the State. In order to meet the state standards and be equipped for a growing community the City Council, Administrator and Mayor have been working toward a new treatment facility.
“We were beginning to feel the ramifications of some of the clean water legislation that had been passed federally, which had been passed down to the states for them to enforce, which was impacting those permits that municipal waste water treatment facilities all have in order to discharge treated waste water into the streams and rivers that they’re permitted to do so,” said Osceola City Administrator, Ty Wheeler.
“There’s a very strict mandate on the water that can go back out into the environment,” said Mayor Thomas Kedley.
The new permit regulations happened to coincide with the lifespan of the current waste water treatment plant. In 2011 it had about 10-15 years left before it would have needed major repairs.
“This project is not just reconstructing the current plant,” said Wheeler. “We’re building an entire new plant that is much more sophisticated. It’s industrial caliber, you might say, to meet these permit limitations.”
The City of Osceola’s waste water stream is more like that of a city of 30,000 people due to the commercial industrial base in town.
After a visit from the EPA the DNR gave the Osceola Municipal Waste Water Treatment Plant a new permit and a timeline for it to get up to the new standard regulations. The schedule called for the waste water plant to be meeting the revised limitations by January of 2021.
“That then launched us into this process where we had to do a stream antidegradation study and a nutrient reduction feasibility report and submit it to the DNR who reviewed and approved it. Then we did a facility plan,” said Wheeler.
The tests and design of the facility is something that has been in the works for the past two years. The city is taking bids for the construction of the facility in December and the project is estimated to take four years to complete. That includes building the new waste water treatment plant and either repurposing or demolishing the current plant.
“We’re trying to be forward thinking with this,” said Mayor Kedley.
The new facility will have the power to run on methane gas should that be an option, the salt or brine that is created from the treatment process could be used on the roads during wintry conditions and there is a system with which the gray water, rather than drinking water, could be run to the Osceola Municipal Golf Course and used for irrigation.
The public should experience no changes to their water at home and other than a little extra traffic on Fillmore Street the construction will not affect citizens. Water rates will increase incrementally as they have been over the past few years. The funding for the project is through the State Revolving Fund Loan Program, which has a below market interest rate for water and waste water projects. The City also qualified for a grant through the Sponsored Watershed Community for the project to integrate environmentally friendly practices into the storm water system.
“I call it growing pains. We’re building a lake reservoir and a water treatment plant, two of the biggest projects in Osceola history and that’s a good thing,” said Mayor Kedley. “If we don’t take on these big things now it’ll really impact our future and our future growth.”