The Current Issue Affecting Communities

New wastewater regulations requiring lower levels of ammonia in wastewater discharge have become a pressing issue for our local governments. Nearly all discharging entities (cities, subdivisions, mobile home parks, etc.) will be impacted by these new regulations. Communities with aeration wastewater treatment plants can typically meet ammonia limits; however, existing wastewater treatment systems that do not use aeration will likely need to be upgraded in order to meet these regulations. In particular, lagoon based treatment systems are at a high risk of failing to meet these new ammonia discharge limits.

When a community faces wastewater treatment issues, a successful outcome is often more dependent on the process the community follows to address the issue than it is on the wastewater treatment technologies available to them. The goal of the community leaders is to help determine a viable solution to the wastewater disposal problem in the community. To achieve this goal, there is the necessary process of planning, financing, and finally construction of the wastewater improvements or system.

The Wastewater Planning Process

The Mid-MO RPC is a resource to help your community work through a thoughtful process that can result in a viable solution. The steps in the process include an assessment, selecting a consultant/engineer, preliminary design, financing, construction, and maintaining capability. These steps occur whether the community is planning to build a new facility, upgrade an existing facility, or extend services to areas currently without sewer service

Planning Steps:

Assessment: An evaluation of the current system including technical capability, financial ability, managerial ability, and regulatory requirements.

Selecting a Consultant/Engineer: One of the most important decisions in the project – the engineer will prepare a preliminary engineering report examining alternatives for a viable solution, prepare a cost estimate, assist with financing options, do final design drawings, and possibly provide construction inspection services once construction begins. The selection should follow a Request for Qualifications process.

Preliminary Design: Includes the evaluation of wastewater technologies, a comparison of costs, and a recommended solution.

Financing: An evaluation of the cost of improvements and the community’s ability to pay. Includes assessing the severity of need, current financial situation, ability to pay for new improvements, developing an estimate of the costs – both capital and operation and maintenance. User fees may include user fees, loans, grants, and possibly bonds.

Construction and Maintaining Capability: a commitment to managerial and financial support throughout the useful life of the system.