Staffers at Brainerd Public Utilities believe the city of Brainerd should retain sole ownership of the wastewater treatment facility when it is expanded.
That was the sentiment expressed by Tom Phelps, BPU superintendent, at Monday's Brainerd City Council meeting. Phelps was on hand to give the council a brief presentation Monday before a joint meeting between the councils and commissions of Brainerd and Baxter at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Northland Arboretum.
"Staff sees no benefit to the city of Brainerd with co-ownership of that facility" with the city of Baxter, Phelps said. "It is in the best interest of the city of Brainerd at this time to retain ownership of the facility."
Phelps said questions that arose from the two cities' April 20 joint meeting concerning ownership as it relates to Brainerd's city charter and whether both cities would appear on the permit for the expansion would be answered at Wednesday's meeting.
Phelps also said BPU is asking the city of Baxter, which is exceeding its allocated capacity flow by 28 percent per day, to develop a plan to correct the problem.
At the April 20 meeting Baxter representatives said since Baxter would be participating financially in the facility expansion they would seek more input into the facility's operations.
"My feeling or understanding is they would like some voice, some formalized way to have some communication on a regular basis," said council member Mary Koep. Phelps said a co-advisory committee with the two cities is what BPU staffers would prefer.
The current wastewater treatment plant, at BPU's facilities on Highland Scenic Drive in Baxter, went into service in 1982. Its age and the growth of Brainerd and Baxter have necessitated an expansion of the facility.
Under a proposal, a $20 million expansion of the wastewater treatment plant would happen in two phases at BPU and the current plant would be scaled back to 1.5 million gallons of wastewater treated per day.
The first phase would add capacity for 4.5 million gallons of wastewater per day in the expanded facility, which could be operational by 2009. The second phase would increase capacity by 1.2 million gallons of wastewater per day.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.