By Mari Radtke
Lagoon improvements for sanitary sewer service in Primghar has been discussed for a long time. As both business and residential growth in Primghar is happening, the improvements make themselves both more doable and required for the community. The Industrial Park has only 2 sites left and seven new homes built within 2 years. Officials believe the plans so far are sufficient for anticipated growth over at least the next 20 years.
City officials have been working with DGR Engineering. The first real step was to make personal visits to area sewer ponds and decide what kind of design options the city has available to them. Out of 4 options explored, only 2 of those options made it to the council meeting for discussion on Wednesday July 14. The discussion between the SAGR System and the LUMNA system was surprisingly short. The LUMNA system was not selected primarily for its compromise to safety for workers. The SAGR system, Submerged Attached Growth Reactor, is designed to effectively removed ammonia from wastewater. It uses a submerged gravel bed and aeration. A UV disinfection process is also part of Primghar’s plans.
Current plans use the same cells currently in use by the city of Primghar. Required power to operate the new lagoon includes the addition of 3-phase electric. Carol Chicoine, City Clerk, estimates the city is at least one year out from bidding. Overall the project is planned as a 3-year project overall and they are 1 year into the project now that a design has been selected.
Also on July 14 the council approved the first reading of Ordinance 2021-03, which addresses water and sewer rates. Chicoine points out that recommendations made to the city about its rates in 2017 were never implemented. The current base residential water rate is $15.40. If the ordinance amendment passes, that will be raised to $16.00 in October 2021 and to $18.50 by July 2022. The base residential sewer rate in October 2021 will be $30.00. In July 2022 it will go to $31.50. Other user classes will also see adjustments. Chicoine explains that these adjustments will allow the city to have some capital available when it is time to begin paying for this project and that not all of it will be debt financed. Current project cost estimates are based on current interest, which she believes may fall over the next 2 years. Current cost predictions for the project is $6.7 million and $8.3 million over 20 years including operating expense. Those are estimates at this time and in current economic conditions.
By Mari Radtke