An application for a State Revolving Fund loan to finance the construction of the new sewer plant in Clarinda was reviewed Wednesday, June 12, by the city council.

During a public hearing on the application, Steven Troyer of Fox Engineering met with the council to review the details of the construction project. He also updated the council on the environmental studies being conducted as part of the project.

The Clarinda City Council approved a projected $11.7 million upgrade to the Clarinda Wastewater Treatment Facility in November 2017.

“The reasons for the project are the existing trickling filter plant was built in the 1950s and it’s basically at the end of its useful life. There’s a need to increase the flow capacity of the facility and the city received a new discharge permit that had more stringent requirements in there that required upgrading the facility,” Troyer said.

The primary portion of the plant was built in 1954. A flow equalization basin was constructed in 1987, and the last major upgrade to the plant was completed in 1996.

The plant has a maximum flow rate of 3.43 million gallons per day for any given 24-hour period. However, the plant was only designed with the hydraulic capacity to treat 1.78 million gallons per day.

Troyer said several designs were considered to address the concerns at the existing facility. He said it was determined a sequence batch reactor process would be the best solution.

Once construction starts on the new plant, Troyer said there would be environmental impacts on the city. Those impacts would include additional traffic in the community; noise in the area of the construction site; the soil around the construction area would be disturbed; and the air quality could temporarily be impacted by the use of the construction equipment and dust in the air.

Troyer said those impacts would be mitigated through the use of best construction practices. He said there would also be some erosion control measures put in place during the construction project to minimize runoff and erosion at the site.

“In terms of historical and archeologically significant sites that may be impacted by the project, (Iowa Department of Natural Resources) has hired a firm to do a phase one archeological investigation. That investigation is underway. If anything is found, that will need to be mitigated before the process can move forward,” Troyer said.

In addition, Troyer said several permit applications have been submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Iowa DNR.

“In terms of positive environmental impacts, there will be significant improvement in terms of the wastewater treatment facility and the discharge from the wastewater plant. There will be a reduction in the bacteria, specifically E coli, which will be discharged into the receiving stream and a reduction in nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, which will be discharged into the stream. So, it’s anticipated, overall, it will improve the water quality in the receiving stream and river,” Troyer said.

Clarinda City Manager Gary McClarnon said no oral or written comments were received from the public regarding the application. Therefore, Clarinda mayor Lisa Hull closed the public hearing. No further action was taken.

Also during the meeting, the council appointed Suzi Stanton to the Board of Commissioners for Clarinda Low Rent Housing. Joy Nordyke was appointed to the Library Board with a term ending June 30, 2025.

Allie Wellhausen and Paul Jones were also re-appointed to the Library Board. Their terms will also end June 30, 2025.

In other business, the council approved two changes to the employee handbook effective July 1. The two revisions included updating the pay scale for the new fiscal year and increasing the amount of the monthly insurance premium paid by employees from 9 percent to 10 percent.

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