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Corps grant brings Stites wastewater treatment plan near fruition; work may begin this summer

— The funding for a years-in-the-planning water system upgrade is in place and the project may soon go out to bid, Stites officials told the Free Press Feb. 28 – so there’s a chance for work on long-sought improvements to get done this summer.

“For the people, if the laterals from the main line to their homes have repairs that have to be done, they’re going to have to do that,” city clerk Karen Braun said. “There is some grant funding, I think through Rural Development…to help with those expenses. All they need to do is come in to city hall, and I have the information. It’ll have to be done when they put in the new lines.”

Next Meeting

The City of Stites’ next meeting is 6:30 p.m. March 12.

More Info

The Corps has released project documents online at

Having started toward addressing water system troubles in 2013, last July, the City of Stites and TD&H Engineering put forward a proposal to address damage to the wastewater collection system, overwhelmed pump stations and a conflict over water treatment volumes in which Stites and the City of Kooskia had become entangled.

In a Feb. 6 communique regarding Stites’ wastewater system project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pledged to cover “a portion of the city’s proposed action…when funds are made available for that purpose.”

The Stites proposal requested nearly $1.3 million through four separate governmental funding sources, including $300,000 from the Corps, as well as $600,000 in USDA Rural Development grants and loans and a $350,000 community development block grant through the State of Idaho.

According to project documentation the Corps released last month, the Stites proposal included an estimate the system changes could bump the average monthly user charge from $62.24 to $82.91, including about $18 more in operation and maintenance and about $3 in debt service.

Braun said the project is expected to reduce a key cost: the amount of wastewater Stites sends to Kooskia by way of a three-mile interceptor line, for which Kooskia charges Stites a per gallon fee.

The changes, according to the documentation, are needed to address “public health and safety concerns posed by increased stormwater inflow and infiltration, wastewater backups, drinking water supply interruptions and elevated hydrogen sulfide levels at the Kooskia sewer treatment plant.”

The proposal calls for the hydrogen sulfide problem to be addressed with chemical treatment and for the stormwater problem to be addressed by replacing manholes, replacing more than 6,000 linear feet of PVC pipe in the collection mainline and replacing lateral service lines and connectors.

To complete the chemical treatment, the Corps’ finding states chemical injection at the City of Stites lift station requires “a new building and injection pump be installed adjacent to the city’s pumping station.”

“The Corps is not assisting the City with the entire proposed action,” the Feb. 6 finding states. “The Corps and the City have agreed the Corps would provide funding…for engineering design, preparation of plans and specifications, and camera inspection of existing sewer lines. Any remaining funds would be used for the replacement of up to 21 manholes.”


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