Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Oct. 25, 1999

Winsted still trying to solve wastewater plant shortfall

By Luis Puga

City Administrator Aaron Reeves updated the Winsted City Council Tuesday on a meeting with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and RCM-SEH over the current shortfall in usage at the city's waste water treatment plant.

Reeves said that the option of shutting down parts of the plant were not feasible, as freezing would occur over the winter months. Also, shutting down parts of the plant would only save the city about $4,000 to $5,000 a year.

Reeves said he also investigated the option of returning to a ponding system.

He referred that idea to Cynthia Moeller-Krass, an engineer with RCM/SEH, who said she wouldn't advise returning the plant to a ponding system from its current mechanical system. She said that the federal government had provided $2.6 million in grants to build the plant as it is, and might require those monies back if the plant were returned to a ponding system.

According to Reeves, three options were originally presented by Moeller-Krass for the DFA shortfall in a previous meeting to deal with the shortfall. The shortfall is the result of DFA's change in production from cheese to a cheese powder product.

The options, other than the initial decision to have DFA cover the entire shortfall, was to charge all commercial and domestic users for what they use, or to spread out the amount of the shortfall to every user, no matter how much they use.

Reeves said DFA did not believe either option was financially viable and asked if it could pay what other plants in its organization pay.

Of this, Mayor Floyd Sneer said, "I think they are blowing smoke."

Other council members questioned whether DFA had taken into consideration, when changing production, how it would affect their sewer rates.

The matter was tabled, but Moeller-Krass was instructed to come up with numbers of the impact on sewer rates if DFA paid what other plants had paid and what would happen if there was no DFA.

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