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Lyons survey may open way for sanitary district grant

September 29, 2010 | 08:28 AM
Lyons — The Lyons Town Board is surveying the 450 households in the Lyons Sanitary District to see if it can shake free some state or federal grant money for the new sewage treatment plant.

Earlier this month, the town distributed simple questionnaires to the sanitary district residents seeking data on family size and household income.

Results are due by mail or fax by Sept. 30.

According to the survey, those who don't turn in the written survey may get a visit from a town employee seeking the information in person.

The survey warns that the state requires 100 percent participation for review of a grant application.

Although the district did receive some low interest loans, the district was denied a grant early in the process of financing construction of the new sewage treatment because state figures showed that the annual median household income in the town of Lyons is $75,000.

The Lyons Sanitary District doesn't cover the entire town, but the state used the town figures because there were no numbers for the sanitary district, Mangold said.

Because of the town income data, 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 state Department of Natural Resources Clean Water Fund.

Despite the low interest loans, sewer rates in the district, which were once $111 per quarter, have jumped to $198, and may go even higher next year.

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A grant might help bring down sewer rates, Mangold said.

The Lyons Sanitary District wastewater treatment plant was opened 30 years ago. The plant serves the Lyons and the Country Estates sanitary districts.

In the past few years, the plant has exceeded its 100,000-gallons-per-day capacity, and overflows of untreated or minimally treated sewage reached the White River.

The new treatment plant will have more than twice the capacity of the old one.

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

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Cost of the new plant is estimated at $4.069 million, with construction at $3.3 million, with another $800,000 or so set aside for design, engineering and change orders.

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 $3.1 million grant for updating sewer pipes, manholes and other parts of its sewerage.

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

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