Building a water-sewer highway in Bethel will take time

by Angela Denning-Barnes on November 3, 2011

The Bethel planning commission held a special meeting Wednesday that included agencies interested in connecting to a main water and sewer line along the Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway, dubbed the institutional corridor. Several of those businesses have had on-going water and sewer issues and are looking to either come up with their own solution or do it as a group. Wednesday’s meeting was a very general preview of what needs to be done to pursue such a collaboration.

The group identified the first steps needed in the process, namely talking more about it: holding meetings, considering funding possibilities, working through the planning commission, and eventually bringing some kind of presentation to the Bethel city council.

One issue was identified that would need to be addressed before a large institutional corridor could be used. That’s fixing the city’s sewer lagoon. The lagoon, as it is now, could not support a large increase in waste water, which is likely to happen if the businesses had better piped systems in place. The lagoon is currently over half full of sediment and needs to be dredged. There is also leaching coming in from nearby wetlands. The city has started discharging the lagoon twice a year instead of once, which is expected to extend its life for another 20 years.

The group talked about funding possibilities of bonding and working with the USDA. Several group members mentioned that the cost of the construction would not be coming from the public, but rather through the institutions.

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