(Springfield, MO) -- Springfield City Council has voted in favor of an agreement that improves the city's wastewater collection and treatment systems.
Council unanimously authorized Council Bill 2012-128 during a public hearing Monday, giving the City Manger approval to amend and extend an agreement with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
It implements state and federal mandated improvements to the city's wastewater collection and treatment systems. The $50 million, 7-year plan removes rain water from sewers. It's a negotiation that's taken four years.
Under the plan approved by City Council, the average utility bill for sewer rates will rise about $5.50 a month -- from about $20 a month to $25 a month (details below).
Keeping rain water out will reduce spending on sewer capacity and treatment plants.
"We think every dollar we spend keeping rain water out, we'll save $7-10 in long term overflow control plans," Steve Meyer, Springfield Director of Environmental Services, has told KOLR/KOZL. "So, we think the return on investment is just great."
The amendment to the existing agreement will now be signed by the city manager and other state and federal officials. It will then be filed with the Springfield Circuit Court for approval.
A handful of other bond issues related to the funding of the plan will be voted on in two weeks.
More from the City of
Under the existing legal agreement, the City has made extensive progress in controlling wet weather-related sewer overflows. The City has fully complied with the existing agreement. The modification and extension is called an Amended Consent Judgment (ACJ). The ACJ requires the City to spend $50 million over the next seven years to implement an Early Action Program (EAP).
The EAP will fix a significant amount of deteriorated clay pipe sewer line and further address wet weather-related sewer overflows. The ACJ responds to more stringent regulatory requirements. The environmental agencies have "raised the bar" said City Manager, Greg Burris.
Wastewater services are important
because they protect water quality, safeguard public health and support future
A spokesman from the Missouri Attorney General's Office stated, "The Department of Natural Resources and the Attorney General's Office appreciate the City's cooperation and commitment in investing in its sewer collection and treatment system in order to protect human health and the environment. This investment will advance economic opportunities and pave the way for a better and healthier quality of life."
The improvements are needed to reduce the release of untreated sewage from the sewer system in response to heavy rains. Such releases can spill onto city streets and occasionally, onto private property.
The City of
Having fully complied with the 1995 Consent Decree, the City began negotiations with state regulators in April of 2008 on the next phase of improvements, which are memorialize in the ACJ announced today. Through negotiations, MDNR and city officials agreed upon the methods and timing for further reducing overflows, which will be funded through wastewater fees.
Based on the recommendations of a
city-appointed citizen task force, the City Council approved rate increases
last May of $4.29 per month (26%) beginning
the EAP, the Amended Consent Judgment requires the City to develop a long-term
Overflow Control Program to provide improvements to conveyance and treatment of
wet weather-related wastewater flows following completion of the Early Action
Program in 2018. The Overflow Control Program will be submitted to the Missouri
Department of Natural Resources on