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City might begin work this year on wastewater collector

WILLMAR -- Construction could begin this summer on a new sewer line called the western collector as the city updates the wastewater collection sy-stem and plans for future development and growth.

The western collector project is separate from the $86.2 million wastewater collection and treatment facility that was completed last year.

The western collector will serve the west and northwest areas of town and will allow the city to develop the eastern half of the proposed industrial park at the old airport and provide municipal sewer services for businesses that build there.

The Wisconsin engineering firm of Donohue and Associates is designing the collector. The $3.6 million estimated construction cost does not include associated costs such as land easements and purchases, legal costs and design fees. Those costs have not yet been determined but will be added later, according to Donohue staff.

The route for the 24-inch diameter pipe begins just north of U.S. Highway 12 West at the intersection of First Avenue and 33th Street Northwest.

The roughly 2.35-mile pipe would follow a Willmar Municipal Utilities power line south to the future Trott Avenue extension, then east half a mile along the future Trott Avenue to County Road 5, then south to the interceptor sewer line.

At the present time, waste from the west and northwest parts of town travels from a lift station on Highway 12 West to the old treatment plant where it connects with the new interceptor, which carries waste to the new plant located 5 miles west of the city.

The western collector will allow the city to remove the Highway 12 lift station and allow waste to flow by gravity to the interceptor, said Rhonda Rae, program manager at Donohue's Willmar office.

The western collector is part of the city's facilities plan to provide for future growth, looking out up to 50 years. The collector will relieve the city of a lift station and provide a more direct route, Rae said.

The city is looking at a couple of funding options, she said. One is the local option sales tax and the other is a loan from the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority.

The authority administers and oversees the financial management of three revolving loan funds and other programs that help local units of government construct facilities for clean water (including wastewater, storm water and drinking water) and other kinds of essential public infrastructure projects, according to the agency's website.

Rae said Donohue has submitted an environmental information worksheet on the collector to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Also, Donohue is completing a facilities plan for the collector and will submit the plan to MPCA, which will allow the city to submit a request for Public Facilities Authority funding.

The construction timetable depends on how funding comes together, said Rae. If the city uses a Public Facilities Authority loan, construction would start July 1.

Rae said the cost is built into the city's sewer rate structure, as is future improvement to the east side Lakeland Drive collector, which has capacity and inflow and infiltration problems.

As part of the western collector project, the city must solidify the route by acquiring land through purchases or permanent easements. This week, the City Council voted to retain the firm of O'Malley and Boe Land Surveyors of Willmar to survey the route.

Also, the council voted to contract with Ruhland Commercial Consultants of St. Cloud to appraise the easements and purchases.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150