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Utility moves ahead with UV disinfection process

New Richmond Utilities will be adding another step to its sewage treatment process to make discharge water cleaner.

According to Dennis Horner, city administrator and utilities manager, the department will be installing an ultraviolet disinfection system to its treatment plant sometime this year.

Cost for the project will be about $370,000.

Right now, discharge water is infused with chlorine gas to further purify the effluent. But the water and chlorine are being discharged into the Willow River, and that needs to be corrected.

"We want to be environmentally conscious," Horner said.

The local utilities department has been planning to add the UV process for some time. About three or four communities in the area have already installed the new disinfection technology.

In other utilities news, New Richmond has applied for a low-interest loan and grant program that could result in the construction of a new water tower in the community.

The funding is part of the federal stimulus package recently approved by Congress and President Barack Obama.

The utility's long-range plans call for a new tower on the western edge of town, providing better service to future homes and commercial development near the golf course.

"We wanted to do it within five years," Horner explained. "But because the stimulus money became available, we decided to apply. It was a hurried process."

Horner said he doesn't know what chance New Richmond has to get the grant and loan award, but officials indicated that the community certainly wouldn't get the funds if they failed to apply.

If the project is approved, half of the tower's cost would be covered by a grant. The other half would be covered by the low-interest loan.