While in support of a study, Brainerd city officials said Monday a regional wastewater treatment study needs to be larger in scope than proposed.
The Brainerd City Council directed staffers to continue working with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to identify all interested parties and to further define the range of the study.
"The city fully supports the concept of studying the wastewater needs of the region," said Dan Vogt, Brainerd city administrator. "But we want to make sure all appropriate units of government are properly represented if we do a regional wastewater study."
Initially the proposal for a study included just Brainerd, Baxter, East Gull Lake and the MPCA, but Brainerd officials would like to see surrounding towns and townships -- such as Nisswa, Lake Shore, Oak Lawn and Long Lake Townships -- possibly included in a regional wastewater study.
The study would explore raising the treatment standard of waste being discharged into the Mississippi River and to provide expanded treatment capacity to meet area growth.
The council also directed staffers to continue to pursue funding for the study through outside sources, such as Minnesota Board of Government Innovation and Cooperation.
There is also a question whether Brainerd, which currently supplies wastewater treatment for Baxter and is in negotiations to do the same with East Gull Lake, would want to join other cities with a new wastewater treatment plant while its current plant is operational.
"The question that comes to my mind is do we have to worry about it?" said council member Gene Goedker. "We have sewer capacity for 20, 30 years."
The Baxter City Council began to pursue the concept for a regional wastewater treatment system in June.
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