Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hailey eyes sewer plant upgrade

Cost-benefit analysis ordered for $2 million project

Express Staff Writer

    Hailey’s 37-year-old wastewater treatment plant in Woodside subdivision is due for replacement. The city could place a bond measure before voters this spring to pay for a replacement facility, which could cost up to $2 million.
    On Monday, the City Council authorized Public Works Director Tom Hellen to compute a cost-benefit analysis of two types of dewatering facilities at the proposed new plant, both of which could produce fertilizer from treated wastewater sludge.
    Hellen said a “Class A” type, costing about $290,000, would produce fertilizer that could be used at city parks. He said a “Class B” type, costing from $160,000 to $250,000, would produce compostable sludge that could be used on fields where no human contact would occur, or treated further for distribution where human contact does occur.
    Hellen said in September that the average $36-per-month sewer bill for Hailey residents could rise due to the cost of the facility upgrade. He said national standards for sewer rates are 1 to 2 percent of area monthly incomes. He said that using that formula, Hailey’s rates could rise to between $47.79 and $85.58, depending on amount of water use.        Hellen said cost estimates are under way for an aerobic digester unit, a concrete basin and a building to house electrical equipment and instrumentation at the proposed new facility.
    The council instructed Hellen to complete the cost-benefit analysis by March 4, the last opportunity for the council to schedule a May vote on a bond measure to pay for the upgrade. The bond measure would require approval by a simple majority for passage.

    In other Hailey news:
- The City Council amended city law to delete the city’s authority to impose property liens for delinquent water and wastewater user fees.
    “The city has not imposed any liens for fees, and there is no state law to support liens,” City Attorney Ned Williamson said.

Tony Evans:

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