Alta and Storm Lake Officials Talk Possible Water Sharing Agreement ; Multiple Options Being Considered

Representatives from the City of Alta and the City of Storm Lake held a preliminary hearing Wednesday afternoon at the Alta Community Center to discuss the possibility of a water sharing agreement.

The current treatment plant operated by Alta Municipal Utilities is nearing the end of its life cycle, and they have started the planning stages of determining their next options for treated water. The Department of Natural Resources is encouraging the use of regional water strategy.

During the joint meeting of the Alta and Storm Lake City Councils and Alta Municipal Utilities, the ISG Engineering Group, including Amanda Goodenow, determined that three options warranted a more detailed analysis…(audio clip below :24 )

The City of Storm Lake’s Water Treatment Plant has reached maximum peak capacity, and is also nearing its end of life. The options for Alta Municipal Utilities include building a new treatment facility, purchasing water from Storm Lake, or AMU providing raw water to Storm Lake. If Alta decides to purchase water from Storm Lake, a water line could be extended from Lake Creek, which Storm Lake already serves. Alta’s existing tower and delivery lines could continue to be used.

Julie Sievers is also with the ISG Group, and said a significant difference in each city’s water quality could be an issue, as Alta’s water would require more treatment to reach the same quality as Storm Lake’s…(audio clip below :21 )

ISG representative Tom Grafft said Storm Lake would likely need to know in the next year or two if they are going to be supplying water to Alta. Funding options being considered include a Community Development Block Grant, the State Revolving Fund, and USDA.

Alta Municipal Utilities doesn’t need The City of Alta to agree on any decision they make on the matter, but Mayor Steve Walsh said they may have a joint meeting in the future, as AMU would prefer to have the support of the city council.

AMU Manager Randy Tilk said the company plans to weigh all of the numbers, and get public comments.

Based on preliminary projections, a new AMU facility would increase AMU water rates between 11 and 45 dollars per month. An AMU connection to Storm Lake would increase rates between four and 24 dollars per month.

New treatment plants in Storm Lake or Alta wouldn’t be online for five to seven years, while an AMU connection to Storm Lake would take four to five years. Alta Municipal Utilities average water usage is approximately five to eight-percent of the City of Storm Lake’s water usage.