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A new sewer plant?

WALNUT — The village of Walnut’s engineer presented the preliminary plans for updating the village’s sewer plant this week.

Matt Hansen of Willett & Hoffman engineering firm of Dixon presented the plans for a $2 million upgrade and update for the village’s sewage plant. This plan will begin with a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16 in the village meeting room. The public meeting will allow residents an opportunity to hear the presentation of the plans and to ask questions. After this initial public meeting, there will be an additional 10-day period during which residents can submit written questions and comments to the village trustees.

The original sewage plant was built in 1965; a lagoon was added in the 1980s; and in 1990 the village received a grant for the construction of liquid storage. There have been no additions to the system since the 1990 construction. Only general maintenance has been done to keep the facility in good operating condition. Hansen said his firm generally states sewage plant mechanicals and structures have a life span of 25 years. He commended the village on their diligence with the maintenance and upkeep of their system to keep it in operation for almost 50 years.

The proposed plan calls for the addition of fine screening, adding a flow meter, replacement of all of the mechanicals within the package plant, construction of a new building for the package plant, replacement of blowers that were installed in 1965, and the addition of some OSHA required safety rails.

The project will include several phases. The first phase is the planning phase which includes the current activity and the first submission of the preliminary plan to the Environmental Protection Agency. Once approval of the preliminary plan is received, that phase will be complete.

The second phase will be the application phase which includes the bidding process, loan application and receiving of permits. This phase will also include an authorizing ordinance passed by the village board and submission of necessary forms.

The final phase, the construction phase, would begin in July 2014 with completion scheduled for June 2015.

Hansen said there will be no interruption in service to the customers. There will be an increase in the amount of customers’ bills of approximately $17 per month. The village board will need to make decisions about the time frame for the payment increase and whether the increase is done incrementally or in one step.

Hansen and the board will be present for the public meeting on Sept. 16.

In other business, Dena Wilt, chairperson of the board of trustees of the Walnut United Methodist Church, presented a letter to the board requesting the village provide snow removal for the handicap parking the church is currently paving. In 2010 it was discovered during a surveying process that 8 inches of the fire station was sitting on property owned by the church. Because of this 8 inches, the church deeded 7 feet to the village, and then the village had clear title to the fire department building.

In exchange for the deeding of this property, the church would like for the village to provide snow removal for their handicapped parking. The church will be responsible for all maintenance of this handicapped area and will be liable for any injuries that would occur on the property. After discussion by the board, Trustee Lee Sarver made a motion to provide snow removal, and this motion was passed by the board. The motion included the stipulation the village would not be liable for damages or injuries, and the snow removal would be done with the time constraints of providing the clearing of the village streets as a first priority.

Also, Walnut Village President Dennis Grobe discussed with the board a change requested in the legal description of the Hanson property being sold by the village. This property has been published for sale by sealed bid. A request had been received by Grobe that an additional 25 feet owned by the village be added to the property for sale. This 25 feet will make this property square rather than an odd shape. An ordinance for the change was proposed and passed by the board. A new three-week publishing period for the sale will be done and new bids for the property will be opened by the board on Oct. 7.

In a final note, Nita VonHolten, village treasurer, reported the new backhoe ordered by the village has been received and payment has been made. The treasurer’s report presented to the board reflected the payment for the backhoe.

The next village board meeting is at 7 p.m. on Sept. 16 with the public meeting for the sewage plant improvements at 6:30 p.m. on that same date. Both meeting will be held at the village meeting room.

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