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     City of Canyonville                                                   

250 N Main, Canyonville, OR 97417
                               
         541-839-4258 or 541-839-4020
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Upgrade Fact Sheet

FACT SHEET ON SEWER PLANT UPGRADE

What does the sewer plant do?

The plant receives and treats wastewater produced by the businesses and residents of Canyonville.   The treated water is discharged into the South Umpqua River.

 

What is wrong with the sewer plant?

The Plant is no longer capable of meeting new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regulations.  Since the plant does not meet these standards the city is under a mandate to upgrade it and bring it into compliance with environmental regulations.

 

How old is the plant?

The City’s plant was constructed in the 1950’s and the last major upgrade to the plant was in 1979.  Although some of the equipment was upgraded in 1997 the majority of the plant and equipment have outlived their useful life.

 

What is the total cost of the project?

The project is broken into smaller phases which will be completed over a period of time.  The total project cost is estimated at $16.4 million.

 

How many phases are there and what is the cost for each phase?

There are 4 phases.  The first phase will start in 2012 with the final phase occurring in 2035.

Phase 1 estimated cost is $5.23 million.  This phase will bring the existing plant into compliance with DEQ rules for discharging into the Umpqua River.

Phase 2 estimated cost is $7.20 million.  This phase will increase the plant capacity to accommodate anticipated future population growth.

Phase 3 anticipated cost is $3.4 million.  Phase 3 will upgrade the plant to meet EPA reliability requirements and capacity for additional population.

Phase 4 anticipated cost is $630,000.00. Phase 4 adds facilities that create biosolids suitable for use as fertilizer on farm land.

 

 

Why is this issue coming up now?

The City has been under a mandate in the form of a Mutual Agreement Order from DEQ and EPA since 1996 to upgrade the sewer plant to comply with regulations.  As part of the mandate the City was required to develop a master plan to bring the plant into compliance.  However, before the City could complete their plan, DEQ had to finish their new water quality standards for the South Umpqua River.  The study was completed in October 2006 and the City’s master plan was just recently completed in 2009.

 

What is a Mutual Agreement Order?

A mutual agreement order (MAO) is an agreement between the City and DEQ that defines the necessary improvements, standards that must be met and a time table for completion of the projects to bring the plant into compliance.  As long as the City diligently works towards completing these projects on time there are no fees for permit violations.

 

What happens if the City does not fix the plant?  If the City fails to upgrade the plant the Federal (EPA) and State (DEQ) governments will impose huge fines on the City for every day they fail to comply.  DEQ has the authority to take over the operation of any sewer plant that is not meeting the required standards.  Once DEQ takes over the facility they can set a monthly rate sufficient to upgrade the entire plant.  There will be no city control over the monthly user fee.  In addition to the fines and take over of the sewer plant, either agency or a citizen could sue the City.

 

Has the City ever been fined or sued?

In 1995 the City was sued for $78,308 by a downstream farmer after the plant discharged raw sewage into the river.  In 1996 the City was fined $11,800 by DEQ for permit violations and sewer overflows.

 

Has the City consider any other options?

The City hired an engineering firm to complete a facility master plan.  The plan analyzed and evaluated 7 different DEQ approved options.  The City selected the most cost effective plan.

 

How does the City know the plan selected is the most cost effective?

As a part of the process the City will have the proposed plan evaluated by other engineering firms.  This is called value engineering.  Their task will be to review the plan and look for any potential cost savings.

 

What are the consequences of delaying the improvements?

Since 1997 when the City first entered into the MAO with DEQ the cost of construction has increased by 50%. The current bidding climate is good and most bids are coming in anywhere between 20%-40% lower than estimates.  This could be a significant savings on the project.

 

How does the City propose to pay for the upgrade?

The City has received a $700,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the final design.  The City can apply for an additional $800,000 grant from CDBG for construction.  Other funding sources are Rural Development, DEQ, and Infra Structure Financing authority.  Most of these sources are low interest loans with a little bit of grant money.

 

Why didn’t the City get grant money through the President’s stimulus package?

The stimulus money was only available to projects that were basically ready to begin construction and could be completed quickly.  The City could not complete the final design in time for stimulus funding.

 

How much will the sewer rate increase?

Until the plans are completed and actual bids awarded for the construction it is difficult to predict how much the rate will increase. What the rate increase will be depends on the amount of grant money the City receives and the interest rate on the loans.  Most of the funding agencies have low interest rates at this time. To say how much the rate would increase at this time before all the funding is lined up would be speculation only and could provide a false answer. At this point all we can say is that the rates will increase substantially and the City will do all they can to keep the project costs down.

 

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