At the Boone County Regional Sewer District meeting Tuesday, board members discussed the county’s options for bringing private, owner-operated sewer facilities up to sewer district standards.
Boone County is home to about 100 domestic wastewater treatment facilities that operate with a Department of Natural Resources permit. Approximately 65 of those are privately owned, meaning that they have one owner but serve multiple tenants, as in a mobile home community.
Tom Ratermann, manager of the sewer district, said he would like to work with the Department of Natural Resources so that when the operating permits of private facilities come up for renewal, the sewer district can talk with owners and consider the operation of each private sewer system on a case-by-case basis.
One option presented by Ratermann to the board would require the private facilities to raise their collection systems to sewer district standards.
Another option would allow the sewer district to own, operate and maintain the facility itself, but leave the operation of the collection system up to the owner.
In a third option, the sewer district could operate both treatment and collection at the facility.
“We want to get away from owner-operated facilities because owners don’t have the ability to modernize them when needed,” Boone County Commissioner Skip Elkin said.
The modernization of private facilities, however, could hurt the sewer district financially. While new developments must be built and operated on sewer district standards, many of the older, private facilities operate on poor systems that would cost a lot of money to bring up to par.
Several cases may need to be considered sooner rather than later. These include a mobile home near the Tiger Tee Golf Driving Range east of Columbia, the Prairie Meadows facility that serves the Bonne Femme mobile home park, and a mobile home park in Prathersville north of Gaslight Acres.
“The sewer district’s role, even if it’s not a money maker, is to service (whatever facility is in question),” Elkin said.
Ratermann will draft formal options for the board’s next meeting on Aug. 17.