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COLUMBIA- The City of Columbia held its third and final storm and wastewater workshop to create an action plan for improved water quality.

One of the biggest obstacles it will face is the cost of infrastructure.

Connie Kacprowicz, spokesperson for the city, said Columbia is working to improve the water system, while also considering families on fixed incomes.

She said the meeting is like a balancing act.

“We want that community input because we need to set priorities,” Kacprowicz said. “So when we’re planning the next 20 years to enhance our infrastructure and meet our regulations, we want to make sure we have the community feedback.”

Kacprowicz said one of the regulations the community has to abide by includes the quality of the water streams.

Residents in the community from different backgrounds were encouraged to share their input.

Former Columbia engineer John Conway said the best way to improve the water systems is to study and quantify how the city will test the water for things like bacteria growth.

“The notion is to extract from the public what they see are the priorities on the waste water side, what they feel is the need and where the focus needs to be as far as capital improvement.”

Conway said he shares the same concerns for storm water. He said the city has to be efficient in the way it distributes money to the project.   

All the meetings are set up as focus groups.

The structure of the meetings start with the city presenting information, and the community shares its response.

The first meeting highlighted how storm water and waste water systems affected people’s homes and their businesses.

The second meeting focused on the quality of streams.

The last meeting looked to determine how the city will cope with the cost, implementations and meeting regulations.