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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow COST OF TREATMENT SYSTEM CONCERNS IMBLER



By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

IMBLER — By the end of an hour-and-a-half community meeting Wednesday night, there appeared to be a general sense that Imbler town leaders needed to go ahead with the steps needed to prepare for a city wastewater system.

But as city councilor Dick Royes repeated several times, "there's no easy answers here, just lots of questions."

Royes noted that Imbler has studied wastewater systems since at least 1968, but has never moved to proceed, instead leaving every household with individual septic tank systems.

In recent months the city has received grants to have Anderson Perry & Associates study the possibilities and options for a wastewater system for the city.

David Wildman of Anderson Perry presented a slide show to an audience of almost 60 residents who gathered in the school gymnasium. He showed systems in Condon, Athena, Union and other communities, ranging from a mechanical system such as Union's, to Athena's pond-and-irrigation system.

If Imbler councilors and voters decide to move forward on putting in a sewer collection system, the process could proceed as quickly as a year-and-a-half, Howard Perry said. The process would include looking for grants from state and federal agencies, floating an election and setting up the system.

"Building a wastewater system isn't a small task," Royes said.

He and other members of the city council feel Imbler could be ordered by the Department of Environmental Quality to have a community sewer system "sometime in the near future."

Of more immediate concern, Royes said, is that without a wastewater system it becomes extremely difficult for any new business — say a laundromat, another cafe or a gas station — to open in Imbler.

While the meeting had few answers for people attending, Anderson Perry's representatives explained that a gravity-flow system to a set of cells with, perhaps, a center pivot irrigation system, would be the least costly way to set one up.

Typically, Wildman said, communities end up charging customers $35 to $40 per month for sewer services.

"This meeting is the first in a series of steps if we head in the direction of a wastewater system," Royes said, adding that the other option would be to shelve the idea and leave it to another council in the future.

Questions from the community ranged from costs to the possible placement of the cells and holding pond, to the amount of time the process could take.

Royes responded to one question about placement by saying that "we're looking at property, but there's been no decision — we haven't even got a plan yet."

One resident repeatedly wanted to know "the bottom line" on costs and whether residents would be forced to destroy or fill in their septic tanks. Placing sewer lines, he added, "is extremely disruptive."

Imbler is collecting surveys that have been sent to residents. The responses will be reviewed at the council meeting Oct. 7.

While no conclusions were reached Wednesday, many people seemed interested in exploring systems but were concerned about costs.

As one man said, "I'm not sure about the cost, but the longer it's put off, the more it will cost and at this point I don't think cost is a real issue. … Let's get to it."

People who attended the meeting were also encouraged to consider running for mayor or a council position. The community is without a mayor and two councilors will finish their terms in December.

Reach T.L. Petersen at:

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