Wastewater upgrade details presented at Ravenswood City Council meeting

Marina project mussel study proposal outlined

Suzette Lowe
Ravenswood City Clerk Kim Benson was honored at the May 4 council meeting. Pictured are Council Dee Scritchfield, Nick Fox, Recorder Jared Bloxton, Mayor Josh Miller, Denise Toler, Amanda Slaven, Steve Tucker and Kim Benson.

Two presentations were the focus of the May 4 meeting of the Ravenswood City Council. One dealt with the first step that must be completed before any plans can go forward on the marina project. The other gave details of the upcoming phase one of the sewer project.

David Fultz from Edge Engineering and Science LLC detailed the steps required to take regarding the mussels located in the Ohio River and Sand Creek. These mussels, which fall under protected species, must be moved before any portion of the project can proceed.

“Each of the bodies of water are classified. Sand Creek is a Group 1, while the Ohio River is Group 4,” explained Fultz. “There is less work to do with Sand Creek. With the Ohio River, Phase 1 tells us how many mussels and what kinds, Phase 2 almost repeats the first phase but with more detail and Phase 3 is relocation or salvage. The mussels will be moved upstream most likely.”

If any of the mussels are identified as federally listed, the process becomes more complicated. Fultz said that that’s not expected to be the case, but it won’t be known until Phase 1 is completed.

The data for the first two phases is in place for five years while the salvage process must be completed in one year. The Sand Creek portion will begin first with the Ohio River project to overlap when the timing is set.

Mayor Josh Miller said that the mussel study is not being done on a whim.

“The Army Corps of Engineers will not even consider issuing us permits to work on any phase of our marina project without this mussel study being completed,” he said. “We hope to be able to break ground on the parking area this summer so we’re planning on getting the Sand Creek portion going.”

More detail, along with cost, is planned for discussion at the next council meeting.

Representatives from Dunn Engineering provided details on the scope of the upcoming sewer plan.

At the end of the multi-year project, eight pump stations will be upgraded, flow meters installed, telemetry, which alerts the operators to any issue, will be in place and portable generators will be installed, along with a diesel pump for the pumping station.

The total cost will be $3.34 million. It is expected that the American Recovery Act stimulus money the city is to receive will be applied to water and sewage projects. That total amount, half of which will be received in May, will be $1.52 million.

The most obvious question with this type of upgrade is the impact on the average water and sewage bill of the consumer.

Currently the average rate for 3,400 gallons of water a month for is $20.11. It is expected that the cost will increase to $32.94. This change will be phased in, not occurring at one time. Based on comparisons with surrounding areas, including Ripley, the increase still makes the bill lower than most.

“These stations and equipment have been around for over 50 years,” said Miller. “It’s time to upgrade them. The cost of not doing anything will be far larger than dealing with it now.”

A second phase will be moving the wastewater treatment plant to a more secluded spot. Currently, a system of lagoons has been the site for waste treatment.

Miller said the plan is to build the new treatment plant to the area known as the gravel yard.

“There is already infrastructure there, so it just makes sense,” he said. “As for questions we get about the sports complex. Yes, we’d like to reclaim that lagoon property for this, but no matter if it happens or not, the lagoons will be moved. That technology, which was good 30 years ago, is causing issues now. We have got to deal with it.”

In the public hearing portion of the meeting, questions about the time frame and if second phase was a separate cost were addressed.

“This will probably be a two-to-four-year project,” said Miller. “The second phase will require additional funding.”

In other business, council members Dee Scritchfield, Nick Fox, Denise Toler, Amanda Slaven, Steve Tucker and City Recorder Jared Bloxton:

  • Had second reading to consider and act upon approved a bond ordinance as it relates to the Ravenswood municipal water project.
  • Approved in second reading the Phase I Wastewater System Upgrades and Heavy Maintenance Project Sewer Tariff Rate Increase.
  • Adopted a proclamation honoring Kim Benson for her dedicated work in recognition of City Clerk’s Week.

Council went into closed-door executive session ending at 8:36 p.m. for the purpose of contractual matters relating to the downtown municipal parking project plan. No action was taken upon adjournment.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, May 18, at 7 p.m. at the Ravenswood Municipal Complex.