The effort to consolidate three county sewer districts to more cost effectively meet new pollution-control regulations took another step forward this week.
The county commission said the three districts in eastern Franklin County can seek approval from circuit court for the combined district.
If the court approves the consolidation, voters in the three districts would still have to vote in favor of it.
The three districts that want to combine are Labadie, Beauty View Acres and Gray Summit Hills.
Without forming the consolidated district, the individual districts would not be able to maintain affordable sewer service, said Kent Cunningham with the Labadie district.
Meeting the new pollution standards will require system upgrades that can be more easily paid for by the three districts working together as opposed to them taking on the upgrades individually.
The total cost of the upgrades is expected to cost about $2 million.
Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer called the consolidation “good government cooperation.”
Griesheimer said he sponsored a bill when he was in the Missouri Senate in 2007 that allowed for the formation and reorganization of sewer districts.
“For me personally this is a great day,” Griesheimer said. “I would have never thought that the bill that I sponsored in 2007 and passed that year would even remotely affect anything in Franklin County because there are so many of these sewer districts around the state.”
The next step is for the circuit court to declare the boundaries of the consolidated sewer district, which would be called the Labadie Creek Watershed Sewer District.
Cunningham has said that consolidating the three districts helps create an “economy of scale” by spreading the cost of the upgrades across a larger entity.
Improvements would be made to the Labadie sewer treatment facility to reduce the ammonia level, and efforts will also be made to reduce phosphorous.
The Labadie plant would be the central treatment point for the three districts.
The other part of the project will involve connecting the other two sewer districts to the Labadie treatment facility. This will require building new lift stations to collect the sewage from Beauty View Acres and Gray Summit Hills and installing a pipeline to connect those lift stations to the Labadie plant.
The user fee for the combined district may be about $40 to $50 per month for residential customers depending on how much grant money there is for the project. Commercial customers’ rates may be based on water usage.
Currently, the monthly rates for the separate districts are $36.41 for Labadie; $55, Beauty View Acres; and $30 for Gray Summit Hills.