By Cameron Rasmusson
The Sandpoint City Council approved a final plan for its proposed wastewater treatment plant.
Designed to bring the city into compliance with the most recent standards while also substantial boosting its service capacity, the new wastewater treatment plant will introduce gradual upgrades at its existing site in southern Sandpoint per a council decision in August. Proponents of moving the plant argued that retaining the plant’s location might limit its ability to grow. But according to Steve James of contracting firm JUB Engineers, the existing site should be sufficient for growth without incurring the significant expenses of piping and pumping that a relocation would necessitate.
James said there are a number of benefits to the plan approved by council members. It gives the city time to attempt to reduce system flow, which consequently reduces costs. The city can also better time plant upgrades with permit applications, giving a clearer picture of regulatory requirements. The more generous time scale provides space to pay down debt, which helps the city avoid utility rate spikes. Finally, a gradual rolling out of upgrades opens the possibility of introducing the newest technology, which could potentially mean improved efficiency over time.
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