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City Council of David City to move forward with reverse osmosis water treatment

City Council of David City to move forward with reverse osmosis water treatment

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David City has settled upon a direction for the overhaul of its 40-year-old water treatment plant.

“The Council finally made a decision to move forward with reverse osmosis for our treatment process,” City Administrator Clayton Keller said.

The City has brought JEO Consulting Inc. on board to help guide the project.

JEO Consulting pitched the idea of a reverse osmosis system after the City went looking for a second opinion on a plant update in June.

The first opinion, given by Olsson, gave the city three different options, each more expensive than the last.

The first, fixing the plant, came in at approximately $4.8 million. The second, to upgrade the existing plant, would cost approximately $5 million and the last option – to start from the ground up and build a new facility – was priced at $8.5 million.

The projected cost of converting the plant to a reverse osmosis system – roughly $5.3 million – is about the same as the upgrade option.

The City currently has a lime-based treatment system. Lime-based systems add lime to the water to treat and soften it, the latter of which is necessary for David City.

Like the lime process, the reverse osmosis – or RO – process treats and softens the water.

In an RO process, several of the additives currently used in David City’s lime system will be replaced by something else in combination with RO.

In a Nov. 26 Banner-Press article, Gustin said he is excited to be participating in a decision-making process that will affect the water treatment plant for the next 30 or 40 years.

"However it goes, it's an exciting process and step forward for the City, and I really look forward to seeing what changes we're going to make,” Gustin told the Banner-Press in November. “This is going to set us up for … the duration of my career here.”

Now that the City has decided on a direction for the water treatment plant update, the next step is to apply for funding.

“We will be going to the state and to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for funding packages,” Keller said. “While it’s an expensive project, the city won’t have to bear that entire cost.”

Even with contributions from the state and federal government, Keller said he anticipates the City will spend millions, rather than hundreds of thousands, of dollars on the project.

“What we’re going to do is put together our plan and submit it to the Nebraska Water Wastewater Advisory Committee,” Keller said.

Keller said that group includes people from the USDA. He said the committee looks at water projects from all across the state and decides how to fund them.

Molly Hunter is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach her via email at molly.hunter@lee.net.

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