By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
If it flushes, Marv Strong says this is where it ends up, even bowling balls.
Grand Island's Wastewater Treatment Plant is in the midst of what could be $73 million in upgrades, even higher than the $44 million predicted just two years ago.
So that will mean a rate hike on top of another.
Strong said, "You're probably going to look at $3 or $4 right now, there would be another raise first of October next year, first of October the year after that. If you've got family with kids, probably $4 or $5, maybe $6 a month."
Strong says that's still relatively low compared to other cities. The money is paying for new sewer lines to accommodate a growing city and make sure the system doesn't fail.
"All of the work we're doing is looking forward over next 50 years and we're appropriate, anything we've designed, whether new or rehabilitation, takes us 50 years forward," Strong, the plant engineer explained.
This summer, the city broke ground on new headworks to receive wastewater, which the mayor called an urgent project.
Jay Vavricek said at the time, "When you don't re–invest obviously you come to a point in time where urgency's there, and we felt urgency was needed, and investment was provided by the council."
The entire bill is covered by customers, no tax dollars are used. But the city lost a big customer after the JBS packing plant made changes.
Strong said, "It's reduced the amount of sludge we process, the amount of power we're using, and other factors as well."
He hopes the only change people notice is on their monthly bill.
"We're basically out of sight, out of mind, and I would prefer people didn't think of us at all," Strong said.
The city council study session was devoted to the topic. A medium household would see their monthly bill rise ten dollars a month.