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To clarify some points made in “Support on sewer system upgrade can yield funding,” published in the Preston Citizen on Feb. 5, Preston City officials offered the following:

The goal of building a new facility is to clean Preston City’s wastewater to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required values.

Waste treated at Preston City’s wastewater treatment plant is primarily residential waste waterflows from the City of Preston. Some runoff from roads and parking lots makes it to the treatment plant; however, a majority of stormwater runs into nearby detention basins.

Personal care products (medications, cosmetics, soap, etc.) do make it to the treatment plant but are not currently regulated by US EPA.

No ozonation or bleach addition is planned as part of the treatment plant upgrades. Currently, the use of UV light is planned for disinfection of the wastewater.

The temperature of water released from the treatment plant is currently within EPA requirements, and no chillers are planned to be part of this project. However, if future permits require them, they could be added in the future.

Spring runoff, snow melt and spring rains raise groundwater levels in and around the city and water leaks into old sewer lines. Only a few sections of wastewater pipe within the city are planned to be replaced as part of the city’s efforts to improve its sewer system.

The installation of new sewer lines would require excavation of a few of the impacted city roads. This work would be coordinated in a manner to minimize disruptions to the community and the surrounding neighborhoods.

EPA issues fines to cities not meeting the deadlines imposed on them to meet EPA standards. Daily penalties issued by EPA vary from city to city. Preston is currently on schedule to meet this requirement within the next four years.

As noted in a July 10, 2019 edition of The Preston Citizen, the EPA has fined cities in Southeastern Idaho from $2,500 to $30,000 a day for non-compliance.

Preston residents do have a say in the decision-making process. Improving the treatment system is required by US EPA but residents can decide what improvements work best for the community.

Keller Associates has worked with the City Administration to develop potential alternatives that provide for the long-term needs of the community. These alternatives will be discussed over the coming weeks and months in public meetings and input from the public is welcome and encouraged.

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