Sewage treatment system estimated to cost $7.7 million

<I>Elane Dickenson/Chieftain</I><BR>The new sewage treatment system, estimated to cost $7.7 million, will be located just south of the current system pictured here.

Enterprise is continuing the process to build a new sewer processing plant, and it should be completed by the end of 2008.

"We're getting funding estimates ready by the end of February . . . and are going to Salem to seek funding," said city administrator Michelle Young.

The project is estimate to cost $7.7 million, she said, though the final design and definite cost won't be determined until after funding is secured.

To pay for the project, sewer rates will probably be raised to about $43 a month, she said, from about $18.50 just over a year ago.

Troy Baker, project manager for Anderson Perry, said he believes the project is on track to meet requirements from the Oregon Department Environmental Quality which has found the Enterprise sewer system in non-compliance with state pollution standards.

An agreement has been struck between the city and DEQ, giving them a timeline to replace the outdated treatment plant and meet state standards.

The next step in the process is a "one stop" meeting with two potential funders: Oregon Economic Community Development Department and the United States Rural Development Department, he said.

Funding is likely to come through an increase in sewer rates mentioned by Young, but Baker said a voter-approved revenue bond is another option. If the sewer hike route is chosen, rates will be set by the funder, based on a percentage of household income.

According to an agreement struck with DEQ, Enterprise must have the sewer system design done by June or July of 2007, and the new system must be on-line 18 months later.

The Enterprise sewer system has had problems with E. coli bacteria and ammonia exceedances in the past, said Heidi Williams, water quality engineer for DEQ, who monitors the plant.

She said she's only glanced at the Enterprise reports due to work load issues, and hasn't noticed any serious problems besides one E. coli exceedance. Enterprise is working towards fixing the issue, she said, so DEQ is understanding of delays.

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