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Proposed waste water plant receives push back from community

LANESBORO, Minn. (FOX 47) – Concerned Lanesboro residents packed city hall Tuesday night, invested in the future of the community’s Waste Water Treatment Plan. City leaders say there’s no doubt they need a new facility as the current one was built in 1938 – but there’s been push back by some community members.

The proposed new location would move the plant from a 500-year flood plane to a 100-year flood plane. But that’s not the only factor concerning some residents because the new site (known as the “Sales Commission Site”) would be sitting between a bike trail and the Root River, among residential homes.

The city evaluated four different sites and determined the “Sales Commission Site” to be the most feasible and financially viable for the town. The total cost ranges from $6.5 to $7.75 million. The new design includes constructing a new Activated Sludge Facility and future accommodations for nutrient removal such as nitrogen and phosphorus.

Lanesboro plans on moving forward with the proposal while waiting on certification from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Mikel Wombacher lives directly across the street from the proposed plant. He says he learned the location would next door to his home about a month ago.

“I understand its a tough job. Its something they’ve got to decide, they’ve got to do. The engineering plant has done a great job putting it together,” Wombacher said. “Its just the location that nobody agrees with. There’s not one person in there that agrees with the location.”

As well as impacting the value of his home, Wombacher says his biggest concern is visibility of the plant. He adds that he is frustrated with the lack of transparency with city leaders.

“You know everyone has an opinion, some are good some are negative but the thing is we are trying to move forward in a progressive fashion to do something that’s going to benefit the town in its entirety,” Lanesboro Mayor Jason Resseman said. “These decisions are tough and these are not decisions we take lightly.”

Mayor Resseman adds there have already been several public hearings on the plant that citizens could have attended.

The city also has plans to make the Waste Water Treatment Facility more aesthetically pleasing by adding plants – such as trees or flowers.

Certification and funding pending, construction could start by spring 2020.

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Beret Leone

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