pass with ease
Ketchum, Sun Valley
$7.4 million project
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
Ketchum and Sun Valley voters
overwhelmingly approved a plan Tuesday to conduct a $7.4 million upgrade
of the wastewater treatment plant that serves both cities.
In two special bond elections held
in the neighboring cities, voters issued permission to the city of
Ketchum and the Sun Valley Water and Sewer District to each incur
approximately $3.7 million in debt to ensure their jointly owned
facility meets tightening environmental regulations.
In Ketchum, voters approved the
plan by a 213-11 margin. The city has 1,913 registered voters, only 12
percent of whom participated in the election.
In Sun Valley, 183 voters endorsed
the plan, while a mere 14 opposed it. Twenty-four percent of Sun
Valley’s 810 registered voters cast ballots in the election.
Because the two entities were
proposing different types of bonds, the Ketchum proposal required
approval from a simple majority of voters, while the Sun Valley plan
required approval from two-thirds of that city’s voters.
Ron LeBlanc, Ketchum city
administrator, said the results were well received at Ketchum City Hall.
"I’m very pleased with the
overwhelming community support," LeBlanc said.
Jack Brown, general manager of the
Sun Valley Water and Sewer District, said the results of the two
elections ensure that the proposed $7.44 million project will be
"I would say that we’re underway,"
Brown said. "We will see construction this summer."
The two bond proposals
specifically asked voters if they support a plan for each of the two
entities to issue and sell $3,720,000 worth of bonds to cover the costs
of the project.
The wastewater plant that serves
the two cities is located south of Ketchum, adjacent to the Big Wood
Analysts determined that by 2006
the existing facility would not meet state and federal standards
established to control the purity of treated water released into the Big
Wood River. Violations of those standards could result in fines of up to
$10,000 per day being issued to the owners, officials said.
The plant upgrades include a new
disinfection system that uses ultraviolet light to destroy bacteria and
other single-cell organisms. It will replace an existing system that
uses chlorine to disinfect treated wastewater.
The project also calls for a new
filtration system, new aeration basins and a new $1.3 million electrical
and control system.
The upgraded wastewater plant is
being designed to meet the two cities’ needs for at least the next 20
LeBlanc said the upgrade to the
electrical and control systems will likely be started by June. Other
aspects of the project will be completed in stages conducted through
The city administrator said
Ketchum will pursue a low-interest construction loan from the state or
the private sector before planning to issue any bonds.