Ashland Sewage Treatment

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ASHLAND - The approval process took several months, but the process of planning a switch to a new sewage treatment plant started back in 2012. City Administrator Lyn Woolford said that is when the city decided it needed to change from a sewage lagoon to a sewage treatment plant.

"As the town grew, our lagoon was struggling to maintain compliance with Dept. of Natural Resources regulations as far as ammonia and other things that are involved with a lagoon," Woolford said.

Woolford said the city's commercial growth was "another stimulant" in the process.

"Like any other city, especially a smaller city, we struggle with our sales tax because traditionally that's been our income to fund city functions and that's starting to wane," Woolford said. "We hope that this will attract additional commercial and residential growth. Everyone is serviced by this plant."

Woolford said filing for the permit took more than a year.

In an email, Connie Patterson of DNR said, "The Missouri Department of Natural Resources strives to issue construction permits in a timely manner. Each project, including this one, is unique, and we strive to work with the applicant through any challenges that may arise in the process."

In addition to the construction permit, the city requested $5.5 million in a low-interest loan and a $0.5 million grant from the department.

"These funding programs have additional requirements that have to be completed prior to issuing the construction permit," Patterson said.

Taxpayers approved a $7 million bond issue in 2014. Funding for the new plant will come from a DNR state revolving fund.

"That will have the lowest interest rates," Woolford said. "That's a benefit for our residents because it keeps our rates lesser than if we had private funding."

The new plant will be next to the city's current lagoon. Construction on the plant will occur in several phases. 

"We have contractual agreements where we have to provide sewer in 2018, so we definitely want to get started on this and really get it going," Woolford said.

Patterson said the new facility is designed to handle an average flow of 600,000 gallons of wastewater per day.

A request for construction bids will go out next week.