The Village of Elmwood’s wastewater mechanical treatment plant was more than 40 years old and increasingly failing to meet wastewater permitting standards. The plant’s total 60,000 gallon per day (gpd) capacity couldn’t keep up with the 80,000-90,000 gpd wastewater flows. The Village had obviously “out grown” the plant facility.
Several potential options were identified for fixing the problem. After reviewing all options, Village leaders opted to construct an Oxidation Ditch mechanical system to replace the existing system. As the Village assessed its wastewater needs they investigated ways to finance this critical community infrastructure system.
Elmwood officials worked with its Village engineer and the Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) to identify funding sources. As part of the review process, they worked with the Water Wastewater Advisory Committee (WWAC) committee to move the project forward and gain input and recommendations. With assistance from SENDD, Elmwood officials conducted a community needs assessment and income survey. The Village learned that it met the income threshold for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Elmwood applied for and was awarded a $250,000 CDBG in May 2009. Additional funding for the project came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Rural Utilities Service program and local Village funds.
The Village Board of Trustees was the driving force behind the project. The trustees relied on their village’s wastewater supervisor for his expertise and the village clerk coordinated the efforts. JEO Consulting Group, Inc., and the village engineer, also provided professional engineering assistance throughout the project’s development and implementation.
Community support was vital to the success of the project, seeing how it was the largest undertaking for the Village since the previous wastewater system was constructed many years ago. Strong support was evidenced through the number of returned Elmwood Community surveys and recorded public comments at numerous public meetings sponsored by the village board during the project’s development phase.
The most impressive part of this project is the timely fashion in which it was completed. The original end date was May 2011 but the facility was completed by November 2010. The Village of Elmwood now has an appropriate compliant, long-term municipal system in the mechanical wastewater treatment plant.