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Richmond weighs whether to keep new sewer equipment

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 11:38 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 12:03 a.m. CDT

RICHMOND – With loan payments looming, village officials continue to look for new avenues to pay for the village’s wastewater treatment plant.

The village of Richmond built the treatment plant in 2007, taking out a $7 million loan through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to cover most of the construction.

The loan was to be paid using connection fees from a 396-home subdivision, Prairie Hill, which developer Peter Bell planned to build.

The subdivision never came, and the village has tried to come up with ways to pay the bill.

It continues to negotiate with the Illinois EPA to lower its payments and is investigating private options to refinance, which probably would mean a higher interest rate but lower monthly payments.

New equipment, an add-on to handle concreted sewage from septic haulers, has generated Richmond “decent money” by charging commercial dumpers to unload, Village President Pete Koenig said. 

The village promoted the addition “fairly heavily” and sometimes has approached the 10,000-gallon average its allowed.

Village officials, though, are not thrilled with the experience and are weighing whether they want to keep the equipment beyond November when the trial period ends.

The equipment was five months late, and the installation help was “less than what we would call adequate,” Koenig said.

The village is investigating whether it really needs the equipment, which would cost $200,000, and what alternatives it has, he said. The Village Board is set to make a decision at its Oct. 17 meeting.

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