Wastewater Facility Improvement Project Frequently Asked Questions
Why does the city need the project?
In 2018 the City Council was notified by the Iowa Department of Natural Recourses to make improvements to the city’s waste water treatment facility in order to meet the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to meet more stringent limits for ammonia nitrogen limits. It has been determined the city will not be able to consistently meet all final ammonia limits with the current waste water treatment facility lagoon.
What does the project involve?
The project involves improvement of the existing wastewater treatment facility and converting an existing flow equalization basin to an aerated lagoon system and various upgrades that will help with future compliance.
How much will the project cost?
It will be a multimillion-dollar project. At this time a final number has not been determined.
How will the city pay for the project?
The city will use a Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CW SRF) loan to finance the improvements. Although one has not been awarded yet, the city has also applied and will continue to actively pursue available grants.
How will the project affect utility customers?
To cover the repayment of the CW SRF loan and increased operating and maintenance costs associated with the project, the city will have to raise monthly sewer rates.
When and how much will sewer rates raise?
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CW SRF) loan requires that the city must bring in 10% more in net revenues than the debt payment itself, this ensures the city has enough annual sewer revenue to make payments on the loan.
The combination of the increasing project expenses due to material cost inflation over the last few years, CW SRF loan requirements and not having increased city sewer rates since 2011, has all but guaranteed the rates will change significantly.
The city is currently working with a certified municipal financial advisor to help determine the exact value of the increase. Once determined, the city council will reevaluate rates starting in July 2023.
How can citizens be involved?
Citizens are always welcome and encouraged to attend Morning Sun’s city council meetings. Citizens may attend in person to simply listen or can even address elected officials with questions or concerns during the appropriate time on the agenda. Currently the City Council does not participate in remote options for citizen attendance. Morning Sun City Council Meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month at City Hall. The next upcoming regular meeting with be July 12th 2023 at 6pm. If you have any questions pertaining to council meetings, please feel free to reach out to City Hall. Citizens are also encouraged to contact elected officials with questions or concerns.