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Residents get second look at proposed treatment plant

Published: Friday, March 29, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Representatives with Baxter Woodman Inc. and Fehr Graham Engineering and Environmental speak with residents concerned with the location of Morrison’s proposed wastewater treatment plant during an open house Thursday.
(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Residents gather around drawings of plans for the proposed wastewater treatment plant.

MORRISON – Vern Tervelt wants the city to seek other locations – south of Waterworks Park – for a proposed wastewater treatment plant.

He was one of about 20 people who attended an open house Thursday evening at Odell Public Library to learn about the proposed site for a new plant.

The city in November presented three possible locations, including one on county-owned land used for fair parking south of the existing plant outside the park. The city since whittled its options to one, just west of the existing plant in the park.

Plans call for a new treatment facility and a 13-foot-deep lagoon to store excess sewage and stormwater when the plant is at capacity – something that would happen only during heavy rainfalls. Designs include landscaping, trees and decorative fencing, as well as odor and noise control measures.

Many residents object to a plant in Waterworks Park. They don't want to lose the green space of the park, which includes a dog park, tennis courts and a baseball diamond. They also fear the plant would be an "eyesore" that would hurt the value of their homes.

Many residents preferred what was known as the "south option," or a site on county-owned land south of the park used for parking during the fair, but the Whiteside County Fair Board and the city deemed the site unsuitable for a new plant.

Tervelt, who lives on Fairway Drive across from the north end of Waterworks Park, near the northwest corner of the proposed overflow pond, wants the city to find a location south of the park.

City officials and their consultants and engineers told attendees Thursday that the project on the proposed site would cost about $20 million, while the project on a site south of the park would cost about $21 million.

Tervelt, a candidate for Morrison City Council, worries about having a lagoon – sometimes filled with a mixture of sewage and stormwater – in the front yard or, in the case of others near the proposed plant, having buildings in the backyard.

He believes a cost difference of $1 million to pump sewage and stormwater a couple of miles south is a small price to pay for leaving homeowners unaffected and maintaining the integrity of the park.

"The city really needs to look at another option," he said.

The city in October decided to build a new wastewater treatment plant, rather than fix the decades-old facility in Waterworks Park. Officials consider the existing plant inadequate to handle more stringent regulations for inflow and infiltration and for amounts of ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorus in treated water.

The city hopes to get a low-interest Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan to fund the project; the city would repay such a loan over 20 years.

Construction on a new plant would begin in spring 2014 and wrap up by the end of 2015, if the IEPA funds the project in its fiscal year 2014; if not, construction would run from October 2014 to October 2016.

Submited comments

The city is seeking input from the community before it finalizes plans for a new wastewater treatment plant.

Residents may submit written comments in the next 30 days to City Administrator Jim Wise at jwise@morrisonil.org or at City of Morrison, 200 W. Main St., Morrison, IL 61270-2400.

Residents also may submit comments in person at City Hall.

Call 815-772-7657 for more information.

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