Several Southern Minnesota cities are hoping their water infrastructure projects make the cut in the year’s potential bonding bill.
This comes as state agencies have previously urged at least two to make changes.
This past Thursday, the Senate’s Capital Investment Committee reviewed the bonding proposals, authored by Republican Senator Rich Draheim of Madison Lake, for Blue Earth, Elysian and Lewisville.
In Blue Earth, the city is seeking $7 million to help fund a new Water Treatment Plant.
As Blue Earth Light and Water General Manager Tim Stoner explained, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has previously asked the city to reduce the amount of chlorides hitting the Blue Earth River.
The high amount is because the city has a hardness problem.
Stoner said, because the existing plant, built in the ‘80’s, couldn’t process the high levels of chloride, it was pushed into the river, which has negative effects on freshwater fish and other aquatic life.
If the city gets the funding they need, improvements will include a centralized reverse osmosis softening system that will reduce the treated water hardness and minimize the community’s need for water softeners and salt usage.
That, in turn, will reduce the amount of salt discharge to the treatment facility and help comply with new requirements.
Costs of the plant were originally around $9 million, but when inflation his after COVD, that price tag went up.
Now, it’s going to cost around $14 million, Stoner said, adding that they tried saving money by raising rates, but it wasn’t quite enough.