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Public hearing set for Toledo water treatment plant

October 4, 2012
By Jimmy Gillispie - Staff Writer , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Toledo's City Council will be giving local residents a chance to voice their opinions on the potentially new water treatment plant that is being proposed.

The city council listened to a review of the new plant and what improvements it will have compared to the current plant during its Sept. 24 meeting. At the end of the discussion, the council unanimously voted to have a public hearing at 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at the city council meeting.

The public hearing is the next step in the process of working toward a new plant. In August, the city council approved Snyder and Associates, who gave the presentation last week, to submit a preliminary report to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Article Photos

The ground storage tank at the Toledo Water Plant might be demolished as part of the plan for a new treatment plant. A public hearing is set to discuss a new plant for Oct. 22. Chronicle file photo/John Speer

Following the Oct. 22 meeting, if the city council still moves forward with the project, the next step will be applying for the Block Grant. The grant could give the $600,000 to use toward the $3 million project. However, the city council must decide the scope of the project at the Oct. 22 meeting.

The main issue on the size of the project is whether or not to add in the ground storage tank. The plant itself will be a similar in size to the current one, but Kelli Scott and Dave Stoklasa from Snyder and Associates felt a new ground storage tank is needed and added it into the project.

"We're also recommending demolishing the existing ground storage tank," Scott said at the Sept. 24 meeting. "It is in really good condition for its age, but it's one of those things where it's a brick structure and it's been repaired to extend its longevity. We don't know how much longer it could last, maybe one year, five years or 10 years.

"After talking with the fire chief, he kind of prefers to have that extra ground storage," she said. "We can meet fire codes without that ground storage, so you're elevated storage will take care of it, but it would be nice to keep that ground storage and not go backwards from what you have currently."

Scott also made two more recommendations during her presentation last week. Those included what will be in the new plant and additional work that could be done years down the road.

"Our recommendation is to do the detention, aeration and filtration to remove the hydrogen sulfide, iron and ammonia," Scott said. "Then we will remove the hardness in the water and the radium. We will plan on delivering softer water to customers than you currently do. We will be removing about 75 percent of the hardness. We will go from about 24 grains to about six grains. Currently, you're delivering about 18 grains or so.

"The other recommendation would be a phase two," she said. "There is no immediate need, but that would be a third well. The two existing wells have been re-cased and they really can't be re-cased again, because the diameter will be too small for the pump to fit. They are OK for now, but you would have to build a new well and that would be based on future demands or if one of the wells fails."

The proposed project would replace the current facility, which was deemed "deteriorated" in a report to the council in December. The proposed new plant would be almost identical to the existing one, except it would add ammonia removal and equipment redundancy for radium removal.

"Essentially, what we've found is the population in Toledo has essentially remained stagnate," Scott said. "So the new plant isn't going to be any bigger than the old plant. We did assume a slight growth of one percent for a minimum population growth and aging of the system. You get water losses as it gets older."

Mayor Dave Svoboda asked Scott if Toledo residents won't be needing water softeners after the new plant if completed and running.

"It would be a personal preference," Scott said. "It's still going to be about six grains and for some people, that's OK. Most people find that acceptable, but some homeowners go all the way to zero."

The new plant is projected at being completed in March 2015 if everything remains on schedule. The next step is the public hearing on Oct. 22.



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