Unless you're in the retail business things often slow down during the holiday season. Employees take vacation time. Distractions abound. Projects get put on the shelf until after the new year.
Well, here's a pitch that there be little or no slowdown on the efforts of Brainerd and Baxter to resolve issues relating to the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant that serves both cities. It's an important issue that should be addressed forthrightly.
First, a quick update for those who have been thinking more about Christmas parties and meal planning than our area's wastewater treatment plant.
The two cities, separated by legal boundaries, but in many ways one community, were looking forward to a $35 million expansion of Brainerd wastewater treatment facility. The growth both communities have experienced made that plant an important part of their future. Plans for the upgrade were progressing nicely until the discovery of a pollutant in the facility and the surfacing of possible legal action by an environmental advocacy group.
The latest snag is the Brainerd City Council's decision this month to put on hold a request for additional capacity at the wastewater plant. Baxter wants to be able to tell potential developers whether it will be able to accommodate their needs. Brainerd wants to determine its own flow projections before acting on the request.
It's in the best interests of all involved parties for a quick resolution of this matter. Plant construction takes about 18 months after the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issues the permit.
Both cities should also exert whatever influence they have with the MPCA to resolve the problem of perfluoroctane sulfonate or PFOS in the water and issue a permit as quickly as feasible. Water quality should be a top concern of government officials but this problem should hopefully be remedied fairly quickly since one apparent source of the problem was quickly pinpointed to a particular business.
Time is money and the sooner the wastewater treatment facility can be expanded the better it will be for all involved.
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