City Can't Contain Sewage
In the past two months, KOMU has showed you a number of conflicts that has generated a political divide in Holts Summit. But under it all, there is a basic story dealing with the city's sewage plant.
Holts Summit's current sewage treatment plant can't handle it all resulting in half of the city's waste ending up in Jefferson City.
"Our sewer treatment plant is nearing the end of its life expectancy. However, requirements are becoming more stringent," said Pam Murray, a Ward I Alderman for Holts Summit. "The life expectancy of that plant is about 20 years. We bought the plant used, and it has been in service (counting its previous use) for more than 20 years."
It's time to figure out what to do.
"Currently, the city faces choices that need to be made relatively soon," added Murray.
The city does have options though. One would be to renovate the current plant to make it big enough to process all of the sewage. This would involve knocking it down and then rebuilding it. The city could also build a second plant on the west side or they could pipe all of the sewage to Jefferson City.
A few years ago, an engineer did a study to outline the costs of option two. The estimate was $5,775,000, but that plan included extending the sewer lines north which is a more extensive plan than is being currently evaluated.
Murray said that right now, $14.13 of Holts Summit residents' bill goes to debt services. That amount will likely increase depending on what plan the city chooses.
"Basically until the engineering firm can come in with some numbers that we can rely on, we don't know what the cost will be," said Murray.
At the Sept. 10 Board of Aldermen meeting, the board voted 4-0 to use Allstate Consultants, LLC to help them come up with a facility plan for the sewer system.
"What they have hired us to do is to take a look at their wastewater collection and treatment systems, and evaluate those and give them some options and long-term solution to their treatment works," explained Chad Sayre, an Allstate Consultant, LLC.
Sayre also says it's not typical to have one city pipe half of its sewage to another and that has to be taken into account with the evaluation.
Whatever Allstate comes up with, the final decision is up to the voters.
"Ultimately, we're talking about a multi-million dollar project, and it will have to go in front of the voters in the form of a bond issue," said Murray.
Allstate has just started its evaluation process for Holts Summit, but before any decisions are made, some think independence might not be a bad option.
"One of the prevailing thoughts is that Holts Summit is now large enough to stand on its own, and it would be nice to take care of our own infrastructure," added Murray.
With a population of about 3,200 and growing, Murray says Holts Summit has to plan for the future.
Allstate consultants say it will be about a year from now before they're ready to present a sewage treatment plan to the city and the Department of Natural Resources.