City Council reviews new option for wastewater treatment facility

By Patrick Fisher

At the New Prague City Council’s Monday meeting, an alternative plan for a new wastewater treatment plant, based on new technology, continued an ongoing discussion for updating the New Prague Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Mike Zagar of Short Elliott Hendrickson (S.E.H.) Inc., presented the alternative for the plant. The city has been studying different options over the past few months for the plant. Among them have been doing an addition to the current plant, building a new plant at the current site or building a new plant at a new site.

The new alternative is based on technology that is currently only used at three sites in the state. It is estimated that construction costs would be approximately $26.5 million. That cost places it in the middle compared to the other options. If the current plant were upgraded it would cost approximately $22 million, while constructing a new plant at the current site would be approximately $29.4 million.

Northfield and St. Peter currently use the new technology at their wastewater treatment facilities and one the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is also building a similar system. Zagar said so far those three locations are the only ones using this type of plant in the state.

The new plant has an aerobic, submerged filter for biological treatment, is highly automated and produces a sludge that can be used as a fertilizer.

A possible site plan showed that the plant could be built on the existing site with three buildings for the treatment process. Flow would enter the pretreatment building for preliminary and primary treatment and would flow to the process building for biological (secondary) treatment, effluent filtration and disinfection and then be discharged through an outfall line. Sludge would be stored in below ground tanks until treated in the biosolids process building and then stored.

Zagar said the next steps were to plan a tour for the council of one of the plants at either Northfield or St. Peter and discuss it with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

City Administrator Jerry Bohnsack said that there will other information presented at the council’s July 5 meeting. He thought the city would want to possibly get to a point where the MPCA tells the city what effluent rates it would have to meet.

No action was taken as the information on the plant was for discussion only.

Final plat approved

The council unanimously approved the final plat for Raven Stream Village First Addition. The addition, which is part of a larger housing subdivision on the west of town, is to include the lot for the new elementary school proposed by the New Prague Area School District, park and associated roads.

Mayor Sindelar had a question on language in the agreement regarding the adjacent feedlots. He thought the city would require the language would be part of the covenant and not the deed.

The council was told that it would revisit that when it begins discussion on the residential and commercial areas of the subdivision.

The approval of the addition will allow the school district to proceed on plans to build the elementary school in that area.

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