WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Sewer Project Advancing in Lee County

May 28, 2014

An effort to build a sewer system in rural Lee County can officially move forward.

Property owners in Mooar/Powdertown learn about a proposed sewer system during a town hall meeting.
Credit Jason Parrott / Tri States Public Radio

The Board of Supervisors has voted to enter into a contract with Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS) regarding the Mooar/Powdertown area.

RUSS, which is based out of Mount Pleasant, Ia., helps unincorporated communities throughout southeast Iowa find federal and state money for sewer systems.

For example, it owns and operates the system in Argyle, which is in western Lee County.

Board Chairman Ernie Schiller says the sooner the contract is drafted, the sooner grant applications can be filed.

"There is only so much funding that has been allotted by the USDA for a project like this.  If we can get the application in quickly, then maybe we can be moved up the list."

Schiller says Lee County should also be moved up the list because the lack of a sewer system in the area is polluting Lake Chatfield, which has high levels of E. Coli.

Property owners voiced their support for the project, which is expected to cost $1-million, during a town-hall meeting this month.

They favor an on-site option, where small groups of septic tanks are connected to a separate treatment unit.  

Supervisor Gary Folluo says this would allow property owners who have already upgraded their septic tanks to easily connect to the system.

Several property owners at the meeting even switched their "No" votes in April 2012 to "Yes" because of the quality of the information provided.  They also said they wanted to have more of a say in the project, instead of allowing the Iowa DNR to dictate actions.

Iowa law requires an adequate sewer system be in place before a property can be sold.