By Sean Rice
Celina city officials may try to free-up lakefront property for commercial or residential development by removing the large sludge lagoons between West Bank Road and U.S. 127.
Development consultant Kent Bryan briefed a Celina City Council committee Monday on the plan to use emergency repair money in the water and sewer funds to close the lagoons. The lime sludge instead would be pumped through 3,000 feet of new pipe to the wastewater treatment plant.
The lagoons, long rectangle ponds across the street from the water plant on U.S. 127, have been used for 40-plus years, city officials have said.
Water is drawn from the lake and treated at the water plant, and then the filtered out lime sludge is pumped to the lagoons for settling. The lime is used to soften the water, and the wastewater treatment plant originally could not treat that byproduct, city Safety-Service Director Jeff Hazel said.
The change to using the wastewater treatment plant instead of lagoons would help the city when renewing its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, a five-year permit from the state, Hazel said. The cost of the entire project is estimated at $550,000. The city would need to scrap and clean the lagoon basins, which then could be filled in by the city or a developer.
"It's an eyesore, because it's in the gateway to our community," Hazel said of the lagoons. "We really don't need that land, and we have people already lining up to buy."
The water and wastewater funds each have emergency accounts of about $200,000 for repairs and improvements, called "R&I" funds by council members. The fund can be spent on improvements, but must be replaced to maintain an emergency balance.
Part of the project also would entail adding a second pump at the wastewater plant. The main corkscrew pump separates the waste as it enters the plant. A second pump would increase performance of the plant and decrease holding time in storage tanks.
Committee members did not vote to give the go-ahead to city administration. More information on the actual cost will be presented before the committee is asked for its approval.