MABTON - The Mabton City Council made it official last night, Tuesday, by formalizing an $80,000 contract with the firm of Gray and Osborne to draw up a wastewater facility plan.
The city finds itself at capacity with its present wastewater facility. Even worse, the system temporarily failed last month when a generator malfunctioned.
Since then the city has contracted with an engineer to monitor the plant and had hoped to obtain grant funds to pay for the facility plan.
The grant money fell through, so the city is putting up money for the cost from its water/sewer emergency funds, leaving just $22,000 remaining in that account.
Council gave unanimous approval last night to the contract with Gray and Osborne, drawing a close to contractor discussions that have at times been tense over the past couple of months.
The city's goal is for the facility plan to lay out the requirements for upgrading Mabton's wastewater system. The plan is scheduled to be completed by March or April 2011, pending review and approval by the Department of Ecology.
When the plan is in hand, the city then plans to pursue a grant/loan financing package to pay for wastewater improvements
Councilman Mario Martinez, who with Mayor Angel Reyna advocated for the city to spend its own money on the plan, encouraged council to consider the possibility of building a new wastewater plant from the ground up, noting it might be more economically feasible than rebuilding the city's existing plant.
"We have a chance to build something to draw people with a new plant," he said, noting it would be attractive to new business.
Work on developing the wastewater improvement plan will start later this month.