Why a wastewater treatment upgrade?

Pouring cement for the new aeration basin.

Last week the Ogden Reporter published an ordinance pertaining to sewer rental rates and the increase that will go into effect July 1, 2019. The cost increase will help pay for the wastewater plant upgrade currently taking place. The activated sludge upgrade will enable the City of Ogden to meet the new limit standards for cleaner water.

In 2008 the Iowa Legislature changed permitting standards for the Clean Water Act of 1974. A time frame was set for June of 2019 to meet the new limits.

“Right now, our current plant cannot meet those limits,” says Ogden Sewer Superintendent Chad Thede. “We now have to treat phosphorous, nitrogen and phosphates. Our old trickling filter system does not do that.”

After consulting Fox Engineering out of Ames for options on how they can meet the new limits, the City moved forward with the project. Waste water will be collected in the 108’x 58’x16’ deep aeration basin (activated sludge tank) under construction  at the west edge of town. From this tank it will go to a disinfectant station. 

“We can then use UV (ultraviolet) light to disinfect,” says Thede. “Which will be more cost effective down the road.”

Total cost of the project is $6.3 million. A $500,000 city block grant coupled with $230,000 in savings got the project off the ground. The City then secured a low-interest rate loan through a state revolving fund for the remainder of the cost. 

When it was determined that money coming in would not be enough to meet the loan payment, a step increase rate was deemed necessary. The last major increase of the municipal sanitary sewer system will be going into effect next July.

The City will also be putting in an extra 18” sanitary sewer pipe that should help move water at a faster rate and prevent it from backing up in town.

What about the existing facilities at the treatment plant? Thede explained that with slight modifications, they will be reusing all the structures.