DANVILLE — Along with a 15-year capital improvement plan, Danville Sanitary District is increasing the residential sewer treatment and base changes to $8.25 a month from the current $7.75 per month.

This is separate from the City of Danville’s proposed sewer fee increase.

The sanitary district board last week approved the fee increase, which will begin May 1, 2021.

The monthly residential unit charge also will increase 50 cents ($6 annually) each Jan. 1 thereafter.

For business, commercial and industrial customers: Septage Receiving — for waste haulers depositing directly at the plant, the fees per 1,000 gallons will be in effect, unless operating under a separate agreement with the district: May 1, 2021 — $50 for septic and $90 for grease; Jan. 1, 2022, $75 for septic and $90 for grease; and Jan. 1, 2023, $100 for septic and $125 for grease.

Effective May 1, 2021, the non-residential unit base charge will match the residential monthly unit charge of $8.25, and the base charge will match the residential charge established on each Jan. 1 thereafter. For accounts with flow volumes in excess of 8 units, the flow rate change will increase by 3 percent effective May 1, 2021, and the flow rate charge will increase 3 percent each Jan. 1 thereafter. For accounts subjected to surcharges, surcharge rates also will increase 3 percent along with the flow rate increases.

The user charge increases, totaling about $5.7 million during the next 10 years, will help fund:

— Program 1 (2021-2025): $6 million for digester complex improvements (two digesters were constructed in 1935 and an upgrade will allow for National Fire Protection Association compliant entry into the digesters and piping and pumping areas), $3.2 million blower and aeration rehabilitation, $3 million east plant wet weather facility rehabilitation, and $1.5 million generators and congeneration engine (install emergency back up power for the central plant).

— Program 2 (2025-2027): $6.1 million for central plant headworks, $3.25 million Stoney Creek interceptor, $2.25 million for sludge processing, and $750,000 retention basin liner.

— Program 3 (2028-2035): $12 million to $15 million final clarifiers and filtration, $3 million to $5 million biological nutrient removal and $2.7 million for disinfection.

Loan program 3 and future rate structure beyond 2030 will be determined in 2027-2028.

For more information on the sanitary district’s plans, visit the website www.dsd2035.com.

Danville Sanitary District Director Doug Ahrens said the current level rate structure had addressed day-to-day operations. The residential rate hasn’t increased for 15 years, since 2005.

“The plant is approaching its 100th anniversary,” Ahrens said, about its operations since 1937, and planning now to meet needs for the future.

He said while the local population has declined, flows on a daily basis are less, but issues arise with stormwater infiltration coming through.

“That is a cost driver for the district. As much as a third of the water we treat is water that is not coming through a cold or hot water pipe,” Ahrens said.

He said prior leadership had done a wonderful job of taking care of the plant’s assets and nursing along the equipment. They’ve also taken advantage of technology gains. However, there are a lot of pumps, valves, motors and other things that need to be addressed.

Ahrens said financing for the capital improvement projects will come from a combination of the user charge increases, sanitary district reserves and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan program funding, with up to 30 percent principal forgiveness to be applied for as the City of Danville used for the northwest pump station project. The remaining loan balances will be repaid over 15 to 20 years.

The wastewater treatment plant doesn’t have discharge limitations on total nitrogen and phosphorus in its effluent (liquid waste, sewage), but those parameters are monitored and reported. The nitrogen and phosphorus parameters are going to have stricter limitations which require the modifications to the treatment processes as the Environmental Protection Agency provides further protection for the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. The district will need to be in full compliance with the regulations by 2035, according to Ahrens.

The sanitary district is a conventional activated sludge wastewater treatment plant with a design average flow of 16 million gallons a day and a design maximum flow of 24 million gallons a day. The plant is permitted to discharge effluent to the Vermilion River according to the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements. The NPDES permit, issued by the IEPA, specifies design flows and allowable concentrations of nutrients and solids in the effluent, in addition to other parameters.

Ahrens said they sent letters to businesses and mailers on the fee increase.

He said the fee increase will help get the plant updated, bring in new technology to operate more efficiently and have more automation of the plant, and make sure the plant is in compliance with the EPA by 2035.

The sanitary district also received an Ameren grant to be more energy efficient.

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