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Milltown officials looking at new wastewater treatment plant


February 06, 2019
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners' latest meeting may have been dominated by the 4-H Council, but that doesn't mean other business took a backseat.

Representing the Town of Milltown, Bill Byrd opened the meeting by expressing the town's desire to rebuild a wastewater treatment plant.

"We've recently made a presentation to the Harrison County Commissioners, who hold a 40-percent capacity reserve in that plant, and we received what we thought was a positive response to significantly help us financially on that," he told the commissioners on Jan. 24. "It's their opinion that Crawford should also help finance this since the majority of customers using this plant live in Crawford County."

With Byrd were Steve Tolliver, the town's wastewater plant operator, and Bob Woosley, of Heritage Engineering.

"The town retained my firm to perform the study of the wastewater system," Woosley said. "They have a number of issues with the system, but I'll just cut to the chase and get to why we're here.

"(The town) received an Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant to do this study and come up with recommendations."

Woosley said the town's current treatment plant is a 150,000-gallon-per-day system.

"It was built back in the 1960s and it serves both Harrison and Crawford Counties," he said. "It's less than 40 percent of its capacity, so it has plenty of capacity; that's not the concern. The problem with the plant is that it's basically worn out. It's at the end of its useful life and it needs to be overhauled."

Woosley said his firm's report lays out many different options, but the most cost effective is to replace the entire plant at the same property.

"There's enough property to do that, which allows the old plant to stay in service while they build a new plant," he said. "The type of plant that they're looking to put in is similar to the Town of Georgetown. It takes very few folks to operate it, which is key since the town has limited resources and staff."

Woosley said the total budget for the project is approximately $1.6 million.

"It's a big number for a small community to take that on," he said. "Fortunately, they qualify for a $700,000 OCRA grant to help, and, as Bill mentioned, we approached the Harrison County Commissioners back in December. They did not vote on the request at that time, but they spoke favorably and want us to come back. We asked them for $450,000 toward the project. That still leaves a shortfall of funds that the town has to come up with."

Woosley said the town has committed to either trying to find additional funds from other sources, like the commissioners, or talk about possibly doing a rate increase to generate some funds.

An average user in Milltown currently pays about $49.50 for wastewater.

"The funds themselves would not be needed until 2020, but, unfortunately, to submit for the grant, you have to have commitments in place," Woosley said. "You have to be able to show them you can fund it.

"Whatever level you can participate, whether it's $10,000, $20,000, it would be greatly appreciated and it goes a long way toward their ability to land the big OCRA grant," he continued.

Morton Dale, president of the board of commissioners, asked Woosley for a time-frame in which the county would have to earmark dollars.

"The proposals are due May 3, so we'd have to know by then what our complete funding looked like," Woosley said.

Ultimately, Dale made a motion to table the issue until the board could consult with the county council.

"I believe we have a lot of residents in the Milltown area and we probably will want to do something," he said. "I would like to … discuss with our council to see what we can (do) and come back at our February meeting with an answer."

The next regular commissioners' meeting will be Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at the judicial complex in English.

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Barbara Shaw
Schuler Bauer
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