Odessa plans for water improvements
ODESSA--Mayor Gerry Messmer and Travis Long, senior project manager for JHA Companies, discussed how the village is planning to fix its iron-rich water issues by constructing new water infrastructure during the Monday, March 15 board meeting. While exact project costs were not discussed during the meeting, afterward Messmer said it's currently believed the high estimate for the needed improvements could reach $1.4 million.
"Infrastructure makes a community tick, without good infrastructure people don't want to be in a community when they are looking for those things," Messmer said after the meeting. "(Good infrastructure) is a basic necessity for any community to survive."
During the meeting, Long said the village must fix the water issue as quickly as possible and any delay should not be considered.
"That ship has sailed, you have a clear and present need," Long said.
Long, who along with being an engineer is a licensed water operator, said he has designed a system tailor-fit for Odessa.
"You have the real estate already and it's a plug-and-play system," Long said.
Along with adding additional water purification infrastructure, Long said the plan also calls for a good percentage of the village pipping from 1938 to be replaced.
"Not all of it though," Long said.
After the meeting, Messmer said if everything goes smoothly, the system could be installed and running in the fall of 2022.
"We won't replace as many lines as we thought and construction, as well, shouldn't take more than several months," Messmer stated.
As it stands, the board has only voted on the preliminary study for the project, however Messmer said he expects the board to vote next month to begin the funding process. While no grants have been applied for yet, Messmer said he is hopeful one-third of the project will be paid for through grants with the rest funded by low-interest loans issued by the United States Department of Agriculture. The bond would then be paid off by Odessa residents through water usage fees.
"Houses sell very quickly, people want to be in Odessa," Messmer remarked. "We have a great school district and once we fix the water problem our housing will do great and people will want to be here even more."
Once the project is complete, Messmer said the improved water quality will help appliances to last longer as they won't have to deal with so much iron in the water.