PLATTSMOUTH — Damage to Plattsmouth’s waste water treatment plant is not as extensive as first thought, according to one engineering consultant.
Steve Perry of Olmstead and Perry Consulting Engineers Inc. addressed Plattsmouth Mayor Paul Lambert and city council members April 15 at their regular meeting.
Perry said he accompanied an electrician to the plant last Friday.
Perry: “We were able to get in and we were pleasantly surprised at the condition the plant was in.”
Perry and city officials have been discussing the possibility of Nebraska Public Power District restoring power to the plant.
Perry: “We also need water to start the cleaning process and we want to get well No. 8 on line. No. 8 was not as affected (as the other wells). We don’t need treated water: we just need water. We’re working through a plan to get temporary power by the end of this week.”
No. 8 is the newest in Plattsmouth’s well field and, with additional supplies from Rural Water District 1, could meet daily water use needs for Plattsmouth citizens, Perry indicated.
City Administrator Erv Portis: “We were operating on Well No. 8 before the flooding and it is fully capable of meeting our daily needs.”
Higher river levels, however, prohibit vehicle access to the plant.
Perry: “There still is no direct access to it. There is still 36-37 inches of water over the road We still must access it by boat. Energy crews are working to secure the site and get some sort of treatment to the sewage plant side. ”
The city has asked to borrow a vehicle for hauling equipment in high water situations from the Nebraska National Guard.
City Administrator Erv Portis: “The Guard is really stretched right now. We have also had conversations with Burlington Northern to see if we could use their right of way.”
If power can be secured and cleaning done, the city could be “in a position to move forward as soon as we get things up and get the filter replaced,” Perry said.
Councilman Steve Riese: “Do we just have to take it apart and clean it if we can get power to it?”
Perry: “NPPD installed a secondary feed last October and we’re talking to them today. They are looking to make that happen, but we have to have some water.”
Portis reminded the council, however, that Congress has not issued any flood relief funds for Nebraska.
Portis: “We will have to secure the cash for those projects for several years. We will have to temporarily borrow money for those projects until we get insurance and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) reimbursements. Our goal is to fix the immediate problems, then the short-term problems to get fully operational. Then, we’ll have serious conversations about the long-term fixes.”
In the meantime, Plattsmouth citizens must continue to rely on the rural water supply forged by an agreement following the 2011 flooding.
An amendment to the agreement, however, was approved Monday night. The price of the rural water will increase from $2.16 per 1,000 gallons to $2.40. City water rates will remain at $2.50 per 100 cubic feet.
Portis reminded the council the city has contractual agreements to meet regarding bonded projects.
Riese: “Is that ($2.40 per 100 cf) enough to get us through some of those contractual costs?”
Portis: “I don’t know but I don’t think so.”