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SV’s waters have receded, but the problems remain

SPRING VALLEY – The flood water may be receding, but the damage done has taken its toll on the Spring Valley wastewater treatment plant. The direction taken with repairs will depend on the amount of federal money that may eventually become available.

“Everything is so much in the air,” Alderman Tom Nesti said at Monday’s council meeting.

The recent flood took its toll on the plant and the city has to decide if it’s worth building a brand new plant or fixing the issues at the old one. Currently, Bureau County has not been declared a disaster area like LaSalle County and that means the amount of federal money is limited.

Mayor Walk Marini said he recently spoke with federal legislators and discovered that counties that had people displaced from their homes were named first and that Bureau County will likely make the cut soon.

“We were somewhat assured that we’ll be declared a federal disaster area,” Marini said.

The wastewater treatment plant was undergoing renovations from a federal IKE grant, which was awarded after Hurricane Ike brought non-stop heavy rains in September 2008. That work has been postponed while the city decides its next move. City Engineer Larry Good said he contacted the grant agency to see if the money could be rerouted for the current flood damage, but it can’t.

There could be future grant opportunities, but it’s too early to tell.

The city council will also seek a 120-day extension for a long-term control plan for the water and sewer system that is due June 8. Given the flood, Good wanted have a better handle on the flood impact and not be hurried to meet the deadline.

Superintendent of Public Works John Schultz said he met the officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency about the treatment plant. They will visit the wastewater treatment plant soon to examine the damage themselves.

There will be a Public Health and Safety Committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. today, Thursday, and a Finance Committee, Water and Sewer Committee and Streets and Alleys Committee meetings beginning at 6:30 p.m. May 23.

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