OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — The City of Oshkosh is looking to start a massive project to improve its waste water systems. The project is scheduled to be completed in stages over the course of 20 years and is estimated to cost $250 million.
Oshkosh Director of Public Works James Rabe says the project is long overdue though.
“It needs to be done. We have not done a full facility plan update in almost 30 years…" he said, "we’re at a point where we really do need to do a full facility plan update.”
The project will be split between two main areas; improvements to the sewers and improvements to the city's waste water treatment plant.
Upgrades to the sewers are expected to cost about $141 million and Rabe estimates that "70 to 100" streets could be impacted by the work. The waste water plant will get the other $109 million and the money is expected to be used on maintenance and installing new equipment to help the station meet new regulations on phosphorus levels.
As for financing, Rabe says the city is looking into federal funding to offset costs, but acknowledges user rates will go up.
“We know the implementation of projects like this is going to have an impact on our user rates. On average for the plan, it’s about a 4% annual increase for the life of the plan.”
For Oshkosh Utility Operations Manager Jason Ellis though, the plan is needed to bring the city's waste water systems into the modern era.
“Everything is old in the city of Oshkosh…some of our sanitary sewer system is 100 years old still."
The plan has not yet been approved and a public hearing to discuss it will be held on December 13th before it is submitted to city council.