The city of Keewatin held a public hearing last week to inform residents about its Wastewater Treatment Facilities Plan. The plan, formulated by Stantec under the direction of Benchmark Engineering, the city’s engineering firm, provided background information, existing conditions, and future projections/needs.
The original plant was built prior to 1940 and had its last major upgrade in the late 1980’s. The age of the plant creates a number of issues with maintenance, code compliance and capacity for growth of the city.
Currently, the facility is functioning at just over capacity and is handling the volume. Code compliance, however, is an ongoing issue and maintenance is a growing concern. Should the city grow, even at a minimal 1 percent per year, the plant could not handle the increase.
City officials mulled several scenarios: 1) Keewatin minimum - no capacity for growth and some issues left for future resolution; 2) Keewatin ‘preferred’ - provides for growth and solves known current problems; and 3) Keewatin+ KeeTac - includes capacity for the mine’s sanitary flow. Estimated costs range from $2,134,000 (minimum), $4,997,000 (preferred), to $5,660,000 (Keewatin+KeeTac).
Following the presentation by Stantec, questions were discussed, and the council approved submitting the Keewatin “preferred” plan to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for approval and considerations for funding. The council action does not commit the city to any specific plan or dollar amount but is simply a next step in the process. Provided the plan is approved and funding made available, construction could begin in June 2015 and be largely completed by October 2016.