Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades

The facilities plan includes treatment plant improvements that will be done in phases. The first, Phase 0, includes blower and aeration improvements costing the village $1.81 million, according to the near 120-page facilities plan document. From there, Phase 1 will include liquid and hydraulic improvements for $12.66 million. Phase 2 includes solids improvements for $2.38 million. And Phase 3 is a hydraulic capacity expansion costing $1.41 million.

The Village of Oregon will upgrade its three-decade old Wastewater Treatment Plant later this year, resulting in likely user fee increases for residents.

But first, the Village Board will seek public input on its plant facilities plan, which will go to a hearing on Aug. 3. Staff has yet to determine the exact timing of the meeting. Ben Heidemann, Town and Country Engineering, Inc. project engineer, will deliver a 20-minute presentation about the scope of the plan. There will be a question and answer session after he’s finished, Heidemann said at a Monday, June 22, special board meeting.

The facilities plan includes treatment plant improvements that will be done in phases. The first, Phase 0, includes blower and aeration improvements costing the village $1.81 million, according to the near 120-page facilities plan document. From there, Phase 1 will include liquid and hydraulic improvements for $12.66 million.

Phase 2 includes solids improvements for $2.38 million. And Phase 3 is a hydraulic capacity expansion costing $1.41 million.

The plan also includes user fee increases for the public to help offset village debt service costs, which public works director Jeff Rau said haven’t increased since 2007 when fees were set at $23 a month.

Adjusted for inflation, the fees would increase 5% per year. For example, by 2025, user fees would have increased to $34 a month from the current $23. By 2030, they would be $41 a month.

Following the public hearing, Rau said any final version of the replacement plan will have to be approved by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Trustees revisited the facilities plan at the June 22 meeting after voting unanimously to maintain and upgrade it Feb. 3. The board undertook the facilities plan to determine the cost effectiveness of various treatment options in January, including the option to maintain and upgrade, as opposed to pumping to the Madison Metropolitan Sewer District.

Trustees had examined three alternatives for upgrading the treatment plant. The first was a low cost alternative, which included minimal upgrades – but Heidemann said that alternative “didn’t set up well after 20 years.”

The next “ideal” alternative, which trustees already approved, includes a phased approach for improvements that extend the treatment plant’s lifespan another 20 years.

“Reaching 20-30 years of age, you start to expect a lot of (plant) equipment to reach the end of its life,” Heidemann said. “This allows you the flexibility that if 20 years from now you use up its capacity, you can accommodate pumping to MMSD.”

The third option was pumping to MMSD within the next few years, but Heidemann recommended against that move, saying it would be too costly. But Rau said the village shouldn’t push that option off the table entirely, as pumping to MMSD in the distant future might be inevitable as Oregon’s population grows.

Email Emilie Heidemann at emilie.heidemann@wcinet.com or follow her on Twitter at @HeidemannEmilie.