Because of upcoming changes in government water standards, the city of Redwood Falls faces some tough — and potentially very expensive — decisions.

Because of upcoming changes in government water standards, the city of Redwood Falls faces some tough — and potentially very expensive — decisions.

The city’s current wastewater permit expires in 2018. In order to meet the new requirements, the city has two option: trade credits with cities upriver from us, or upgrade our current wastewater facility.

Currently, the city buys phosphorus credits from New Ulm. Because of changing standards, the option will not be available for many more years.

That leaves upgrading the current aerated lagoon system, which was last updated 28 years ago, and is in severe need of repair.

Last month, the city council commissioned the engineering firm of Bolton and Menk to explore options for the city.

At Tuesday’s Redwood Falls City Council meeting, an engineer from Bolton and Menk presented the recommendations.

The best option, in the firm’s view, is a hybrid system of improvements to the mechanical water treatment facility, and additional filtering.

Depending on the specifics chosen, the final budget could vary between $11 and $18 million dollars, adding up to $50-60 dollars per month to city residents’ water bill.

However, that amount does not take into account many grants and low-interest loans potentially available to keep costs for city residents down.

To better position the city for later funding sources, the city council approved the waste water facility plan.

A public hearing to review the requirements forcing the upgrade, review the wastewater plan, and receive comments and suggestions, has been set for Tuesday, March 22, at 5 p.m., in City Hall.

 

And in other city news, the council:

• Authorized city staff to request bids for the upcoming 2016 Seal Coat Improvement Contract for city streets south of Bridge Street for this summer.

The project has a budgeted estimate of $250,000. Bids will be opened on April 6, with an award and financing recommendation presented on April 19.

The anticipated start dated would be after Aug. 1 to allow the Street Department time for patching and other maintenance.

• Approved the formation of a physician recruitment program for the Redwood Area Hospital to encourage physicians to come to this rural community.

• Approved a $31,588 agreement between the Redwood Area Hospital and Applied Management System to do an analysis of new productivity standards to help determine realistic staffing needs as the hospital continues to expand product lines and upgrade technology.

• Approved $27, 024 in joint city/school district new equipment purchases for the Redwood Area Community Center, to include a new stair stepper, new fitness center equipment, a new softball fence, new dugout covers, and $14,000 toward a new backstop for the Memorial Field baseball field.

• Approved the hiring of Erin Kodet as City Hall’s new Customer Service Representative, and authorized advertising for a new front receptionist.

• Proclaimed March 2, 2016 as “Spread the Word to End the Word” National Awareness Day, in recognition of an ongoing effort by the Special Olympics to raise the consciousness of society about the hurtful effects of the word “retarded”.