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Council pursues agreement with Sioux Falls for city’s wastewater treatment

The June 19th, meeting of the Tea City Council was rife with discussion as they considered the best future options for Tea’s wastewater. Those in attendance were Mayor John Lawler; council members Sidney Munson, Brian Fowldes, Casey Voelker, Joe Weis, Chuck Ortmeier, Todd Boots; along with City Engineer Ben Scholz, Planning and Zoning Administrator Kevin Nissen and Utility Superintendent Thad Konrad.

The hydraulic capacity of Tea’s existing wastewater treatment lagoon system has already exceeded capacity and the organic loading is nearing capacity. The council considered two viable options for the future of wastewater in Tea. One option is for Tea to build its own plant for an estimated $23 million. The second option is to regionalize with Sioux Falls, at an estimated $16 million. After much discussion, it was voted on and passed, to start working on a memorandum of understanding between Sioux Falls and Tea for wastewater treatment.

“It’s more favorable for our citizens,” stated Lawler, “and we have worked with Sioux Falls in the past.” If Tea were to build their own facility, Tea would also be responsible for all of the upkeep and future changes to meet any regulation changes. By working with Sioux Falls, they will be responsible for any upgrades in the future.

There are some requirements needed from Tea, to regionalize with Sioux Falls, such as upgrading the existing Lagoon Lift Station to pump to the city of Sioux Falls, along with construction of a second equalization basin lift station. Tea would need to maintain the existing lagoons to meet the equalization storage volume required. An initial payment for Regional System Development Charges (SDC’s) would need to be made to Sioux Falls for all existing sewer connections, based on the number and size of water meters. SDCs are an initial fee for a set unit of capacity. Ongoing payments of SDC’s to Sioux Falls would be required as new connections are added to Tea’s collection system. A user charge per 1,000 gallons of wastewater would be paid to the City of Sioux Falls.

After reviewing all the information, the council agreed to start working on a memorandum, which will go towards the beginning of a contract. The memorandum will be based on a 20-year-plan.

Also discussed at the City Council meeting was additional surface treatment for North Main Avenue at Brian to 221st Street. The work would take place in the middle of July and is contracted to not take more than 10 days to complete. The contract was approved for $158,241 by the council.

The council also approved the June 3rd and 5th minutes, June warrants, and July meeting dates of the 10th and 24th. The meeting went into executive session at 7:55 p.m.

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