Once the village moves forward with upgrades for its three-decade old wastewater treatment plant facility, that will mean user fee increases for Oregon residents.
But before that, the Village Board is seeking public feedback on its upgrade plan at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3, at a hearing that will be held over Zoom.
Ben Heidemann, Town and Country Engineering, Inc. project engineer, will deliver a 20-minute presentation reviewing the 120-page wastewater facilities plan, which the Village Board passed at its June 22 meeting. There will be a question and answer session after he’s finished, public works director Jeff Rau told the Observer.
The presentation will cover user 5% fee increases, the village’s growing population, the project’s implementation schedule and upgrade alternatives — including the possibility of pumping to the Madison Metropolitan Sewer District. Heidemann will also go over the environmental impacts and current and future permit requirements, a public hearing notice states.
Following the public hearing, Rau said at the June 22 Village Board meeting any revised version of the facilities plan will have to be approved by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
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, according to the plan.
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 at the June 22 meeting that alternative “didn’t set up well after 20 years.”
The next “ideal” alternative 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.