$260 Million Water Plant


Yesterday we told you how the city of Sioux Falls wants to spend a whopping $260 million dollars to expand and improve the water reclamation plant.  

It’s part of the mayor’s capital improvement plan for the next 5 years.  

Here’s how the $260 Million dollars breaks down – $160 million will go toward an expansion at the water reclamation facility.  

It will cost $100-million to update underground infrastructure across town, things like sewers, pipes and pump stations.

To give you some perspective, the total project is equivalent 2-point-2 Denny Sanford PREMIER Centers.

The total is also higher than the Sioux Falls School District’s plan to build 4-brand new schools and update several others.  

And it’s almost 12-times more money than the city spent on a controversial new office building.  But according to city officials it’s a critical project and well worth the money. 

City officials say operating a water reclamation facility is one of the basic functions of running a modern city.

This plant was built in the 1980’s following the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.  

“We’ve stretched the life of this plant out as long as we can, our maintenance team has been rock solid, they’ve gotten an extra 10 years out of this plant from what it’s normal design would be,” Public Works director Mark Cotter said. 

Right now the plant is operating at over 80% capacity.  Studies have shown now’s the time to upgrade. 

“When you hit 75% capacity in the wastewater business you should be under design for a future expansion, when you hit 90% you should be under construction and we’re on track with both of those,” Cotter said. 

The price tag of $260 million will be paid for by user fees meaning your water and sewer bills will be going up. 

“They foresee a possible increase of about $2 per month for a family of five,” city councilor Rick Kiley said. 

Kiley says the city knew this day was coming. 

“You never want to raise rates, but in a situation like this where we are at 82% capacity today, we have a community that’s growing by 5,0000 people every year and we are bringing on regional customers in addition to that it’s the prudent thing to do now is to expand our existing facilities,” Kiley said. 

The city council will be voting on the funding this project when it passes the city budget in October. 
The water reclamation plant is just one of several large scale projects in the mayor’s capital improvement plan.  

If you’d like to take a closer look at the other projects, like the 26th Street overpass, click here

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