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Sewage treatment plant to be completed by July 2011

Low-interest loans help finance $4.1 million project

August 18, 2010 | 07:38 AM
Lyons — There's nothing attractive about a sewage treatment plant.

But nothing can beat it for keeping bad water from mixing with the good. Unless that plant is outdated.

The Lyons Sanitary District wastewater treatment plant was built to last for 20 years, when it was opened 30 years ago.

The old plant could handle only 100,000 gallons daily, and it was "slightly over capacity," according to Bob Biedrzycki, Lyons Sanitary District Superintendent.

When the plant is over capacity, overflows of untreated or minimally treated sewage can reach the nearby White River.

That had the state Department of Natural Resources concerned.

The DNR required Lyons district to put a stop to the overflows.

The district board decided that a new plant was the only feasible alternative.

Town and district officials said turning their sewage treatment over to the Burlington or Lake Geneva districts would cost as much or more than a new plant.

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The official groundbreaking for the new plant was July 1, and plans are to have it completed and online by July 2011.

The old plant's 40-by-84-foot main building will be torn down and its old treatment system broken down and removed.

Now, Miron Construction of Neenah is moving the earth behind the old plant, carving out where the new buildings and wastewater treatment technology will be located.

Contractors expect to be laying pipe this week and may be doing some concrete work by the end of this week.

The new plant will have three buildings, an administration building, a process building and a building that will serve as garage, workshop and storage building.

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The center of the new plant will be the 82-foot in diameter oxidation and digester basin.

The new plant's capacity will be will be 207,000 gallons of sewage per day.

The facility is expected to provide treatment for both the Lyons Sanitary and Country Estates districts through the year 2026.

For two small districts, like Lyons and Country Estates, the cost for even a modest-sized plant like this one is enormous.

Originally, the project's estimated cost was $4.8 million, Biedrzycki said.

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But both districts worked to cut costs because of the high sewerage rates residents were already paying.

Total cost of the new plant is estimated at $4.069 million, Biedrzycki said.

Construction will be $3.3 million, with another $800,000 or so set aside for design, engineering and any change orders that might occur, he said.

The Lyons district did not qualify for grants, but it was able to secure a 20-year, $2.7 million low-interest loan through the DNR Clean Water Fund.

According to Biedrzycki, the loans carry only 2.2 percent interest.

Country Estates is covering about 35 percent of the costs with a $1.45 million Wisconsin Rural Water Construction loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, the rural district received a $3.1million grant for updating sewer pipes, manholes and other parts of its sewerage.

However, to pay off the loans, sewer rates, which were once $111 per quarter, have jumped to $198.

Biedrzycki has said that those rates won't come down until the plant is paid for.

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