Pilot Grove to hold meetings to discuss bond

The City of Pilot Grove is holding three public forum meetings to discuss a potential 2.3 million dollar bond issue for the purpose of extending and improving the city’s sewage system, including wastewater system improvements.
According to a letter  issued to the residents of Pilot Grove from the city government, representatives from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Northeast Regional Office (DNR/NERO), performed a stream survey of the receiving streams where the respective lagoon discharges.  The results of those surveys, according to the letter, indicated there were negative impacts to those streams because of the  lagoons discharge.  In December 2008, the existing NPDES permits for the West and East Lagoon were reissued with the new discharge limits. Furthermore, conditions of the streams needed to be corrected to maintain compliance with the Missouri Clean Water Law and Department of Natural Resources Regulations.  
On November 5, the project will be voted on by the citizens.
Three public meetings have been scheduled to answer citizen questions. The meetings will be  held at the Pilot Grove City Hall at 7 p.m. on October 2,  16 and 30.
The following are facts about the bond measure,
• The proposed bond election is to sell bonds to pay for upgrading the city’s two wastewater treatment facilities and to repair and replace parts of the sewer system.
• The city’s two wastewater treatment facilities are over 30 years old and the technology used is no longer capable of meeting state and federal requirements for discharge of pollutants to the area streams.  
• The city is under a Schedule of Compliance from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to clean up the streams in to which  two lagoon systems discharge.  
• If the city is not able to clean up the streams and meet anticipated future clean water requirements, the city may face fines and possible litigation from the state.
• Part of the problem is also the old sewer system, which is in need of major repairs and reconstruction.   
• Sometimes the sewers overflow from the manholes because of heavy rains, which is in violation of state and federal law.
• The proposed project is to stop discharging pollutants to the area streams by irrigating the water from the lagoons onto nearby fields and to repair the sewer system.  The irrigation system, called drip irrigation is where water is placed just below the surface in very small pipes.  The City has chosen this type of project because it will solve any problems with the quality of the lagoon water for a very long time and in the long run, may be cheaper for the community.  
• The total cost of the project to repair the wastewater system is $2,982,310, however, the city is in line to receive grants totaling $1,104,410.  That leaves $1,877,900 for which the city is responsible.    
• If the bond issue does not pass, the City will lose its place in line to receive the grants.  It is estimated that if the City would have to finance the entire project without any grants, the average sewer bill would be $14.82 per 1000 gallons per month or 37 percent more than a project with grant assistance.
• The impact on sewer rates for financing this project and then operating and maintaining the existing and new equipment is estimated to increase the average monthly sewer bill to $11.75 per 1000 gallons per month. This will be an increase of approximately $6.67 per 1000 gallons over the current rate of $5.08.
• The City will be forced to clean up the streams and fix its wastewater system.