Marathon sewer plan approved
Plant will hike bills 72 percent
The Marathon Utility Commission on March 11 approved a facility plan for a new $7.7 million wastewater treatment plant that, in a worst case scenario, will increase local sewer rates by 72 percent.
The vote by the commission was 3-1. Voting for the plan was Andy Berens, Mike Seliger and Andy Kurtz. Voting no was Ryan Dallman. Not present at the meeting were David Bellanger and Ted Knoeck.
The plan, drafted by Strand Associates, Madison, calls for construction of an AeroMod aerobic treatment plant on village land located east of the current sewage plant and south of the village garage.
The utility commission agreed to go with a new plant, rather than fix up the existing anaerobic plant for an estimated $9 million. “As a village, we are putting together a solution that’s in the best interest of the village for the long-term,” said village administrator Andy Kurtz. “Remodeling the existing plant would have been very expensive and, in the end, you will have wound up with old infrastructure. We will have new infrastructure that is longer lasting and that will be able to handle nitrite regulations in the future.” Kurtz said an average Marathon City residential sewer user customer who uses 9,210 gallons per quarter will see a current bill of $105 increase $74 to $179.
The increase, which may run lower if plant construction costs are cheaper than projected, includes the village spending approximately $25,000 a year to purchase phosphorus credits from area farmers.
Kurtz said the village will apply for a $750,000 principal forgiveness grant and project financing through the Wisconsin DNR Clean Water Fund. The village, he said, is unable to apply for a USDA Rural Development loan because the village’s median household income of $56,439 is too high.
Kurtz said village officials toured various AeroMod plants in Wisconsin, including those in Rib Lake and Kendall, prior to approving the facility plan.
The administrator said the village hopes to have a Wednesday, March 25, public hearing on the plan, but this meeting may need to be pushed back as the village deals with protocols for public meetings during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The village, Kurtz said, hopes to send completed plans to the DNR by December and put the project out to bid in early 2021. Construction will commence that year with completion scheduled for September of 2022.