Wastewater Treatment Plant Planning
Jerome, Idaho (KMVT-TV) The City of Jerome is moving forward with its plans to improve its wastewater treatment plant.
This is a result of the wastewater sewage overflow that happened last year.
"An environmental engineer, Keller & Associates is doing a master plant for us to see what it is we need to do next to avoid any future occurrences like that,” said Mayor John Shine, City of Jerome.
It's been a little over a year since a wastewater sewage overflow in Jerome that gave rise to an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency.
"Any time you have a SSO, a Sanitary Sewer Overflow, you have to report to the EPA," said Mayor Shine.
The EPA monitors these for the entire nation.
The SSO is a violation of the clean water act.
Since then, the city's been working with the EPA to fix the problems with its wastewater system.
"Even though they are here to help us and they're here to help guide us through the process, there still could be some fines involved," said Mayor Shine.
Keller & Associates is now about half way through a study of the wastewater system.
The study is analyzing rates, the pre–treatment program, current capacity needs and what the city will need in the future.
Two things are clear, the current system will need to be overhauled, but the city will also need a new plant.
"At the present time we're running at about 85%. So, that doesn't leave a lot of room for error," said Mayor Shine.
Since Jerome is an agriculturally–based economy, its water treatment capabilities play a huge factor in its growth.
"If we don't have the ability to process an industry's effluent, we can't invite them to site her in Jerome County," said Mayor Shine.
But, all of this costs money, which means the city will be forced to look to the taxpayers for funding.
"We are really looking at about probably a $35 million, give or take, $35 million increase in the size of our wastewater treatment plant," said Mayor Shine.
That would be coupled with an increase in wastewater rates.
Shine says city leaders are doing everything they can to find a solution that's the most cost–effective for the taxpayer.