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Curtiss raises sewer rates for residents, Abbyland

Starting next year, Curtiss residents will pay slightly more for their sewer services after the village board approved new rates at its monthly meeting on Tuesday.

The quarterly base charge for 5/8inch and 3/4-inch meters was increased from $27 to $30, and the volume charge was bumped up six cents per thousand gallons of water, to $3.26. As a result, a household using 10,000 gallons of water every three months will now pay $62.60 per quarter, compared to $59 under the old rates.

The Abbyland Foods pork plant will also pay more for the village to treat its industrial strength waste.

While the cost per 1,000 gallons is just 70 cents for the meat-packing company, DPW John Swarr said the cost for removing BODs and phosphorus is much more — in the thousands.

“What Abbyland sends us in 1,000 gallons is going to take a lot more money to digest than 1,000 gallons from a residence,” Swarr explained. Abbyland is helping the village reduce its phosphorus removal costs by providing ferric chloride at a cost of $1.60 per gallon instead of the $2.70 per gallon the village had been paying. Abbyland is now supplying all of the village’s ferric chloride, so the company is going to get a credit on their bill to reduce what it pays for phosphorus removal.

“It saves money for Abbyland, but it also saves money for all the residents too because we’re paying a dollar less per gallon for the ferric we’re using,” he said.

Swarr said savings in ferric chloride will amount to about $27 per day, or close to $10,000 over a year’s time.

In related news, MSA engineer Mike Voss said his firm is moving ahead with a preliminary engineering plan for a new sewage treatment plant, but they haven’t heard yet from Abbyland Foods on whether it plans to expand its pork plant. He said MSA is working through environmental issues, which will be the same regardless of whether Abbyland expands or not.

“We have the facility plan done, but we’re waiting to see which way Abbyland goes,” he said. “But we think we’d like to submit it to you guys and Abbyland at the same time. Maybe that would help them make their decision better.”

Village president Randy Busse said that would be acceptable to him.

“I think both at the same time would be fine,” he said