Truesdale city leaders are discussing a new potential partnership that could allow the city to establish its own sewage treatment facility and decouple utilities from its larger neighbor, …
Truesdale city leaders are discussing a new potential partnership that could allow the city to establish its own sewage treatment facility and decouple utilities from its larger neighbor, Warrenton.
The Truesdale Board of Aldermen met on Jan. 25 with Jim Johnston, a representative of Trane Technologies, to discuss the possibility of securing federal grant funding to build a cost-effective sewage treatment system. Johnston explained that Trane, a technology conglomerate most often associated with heating and cooling systems, also has an arm that deals with grant-funded infrastructure projects.
Johnston said Trane has recognized a need and an opportunity for independent sewer service in Truesdale. For several years, new construction in Truesdale was sharply curtailed because Warrenton city leaders declined to provide additional sewer capacity to Truesdale. Although that restriction was more recently lifted, allowing new residential development to proceed, Truesdale city leaders say they still feel constrained.
Although Truesdale subsequently commissioned an engineering study to assess alternate sewage treatment options, that study didn’t provide any economically viable options for the small town.
That situation could change, Johnston said, if Trane Technologies offers its services in securing federal grant funding, as well as organizing engineers and contractors to build an independent sewage treatment facility. Trane would get paid a portion of the grant funding to provide that service, Johnston explained.
“Right now is the perfect time to get dollars for cities to develop resiliency in infrastructure, more specifically around water and wastewater,” Johnston commented. “What we are talking about is potentially doing ... a wastewater treatment facility ‘in a box.’”
He explained that at least two available companies build compact, modular wastewater treatment systems that are about the size of a shipping container. Sewage water flows in, goes through multiple stages of treatment and filtering, and is separated into clean water and a bio-solid that works as farm fertilizer.
Depending on what Truesdale predicts for its future sewer needs, the city could be served by just one unit, Johnston said.
In addition to giving Truesdale control of its own sewer service, this project would also aim to stabilize or reduce end-user costs for Truesdale residents and industrial businesses, Johnston added.
To secure federal grant funding, Johnston said Trane would emphasize that Truesdale’s residential and commercial growth have been constrained by infrastructure shortcomings. He said Trane would front the cost of any initial work required to apply for grants.
Truesdale Mayor Chris Watson said that in addition to what Trane Technologies is proposing, he wants to know if a grant could also help build more water infrastructure for Truesdale industries that currently receive water service from Warrenton. He commented that all of Truesdale’s city leaders believe that the town’s future economic growth would benefit from independent infrastructure.
Steve Etcher, a representative of the Greater Warren County Economic Development Council, was also on hand for the discussion and noted that sewer infrastructure is a key factor in attracting new industrial businesses.
“It’s not a real sexy topic, but our ability to grow our economy is going to be solely limited by our ability to treat our waste,” Etcher stated. “You can have everything else perfectly aligned, but if you cannot treat that waste ... (that’s) beyond corporate tolerance.”