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Troy Wastewater Plant Has Exceeded Designed Life Expectancy

By Stephanie Malench

During the January 18 Troy City Council meeting, it was announced that there would be a rate hike of 8% on sewer services for both in city and out of city residents beginning May 1, 2022 for the next five years to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant. This reporter sat down with Mayor Dave Nonn, City Administrator Jay Keeven, Public Works Director Rob Hancock, and alderman Nathan Henderson to learn more about why the city was raising the rates and why the plant needs upgrading.

Keeven said that the sewer rate had only gone up 2% each year for the last 10 fiscal years. This increase barely covered basic maintenance and salaries for the employees.

Additionally, the current wastewater treatment plant was built in 1997 and the normal life expectancy of a wastewater plant is 20 years. The cost of the upgrades to the existing plant to remain compliant with Illinois law is estimated to be between $22 million and $30 million. An exact price tag will not be available until after design and bidding takes place.

Funds will be applied for through the state revolving fund managed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) at a 1.11% interest rate, compared to much higher interest rates through traditional banks and lenders. The rate increases will be used to pay off the loan. The resolution announcing the rate increase helps the city get the loan because it shows the state assurance the city will be able to pay back the money. The city has held a funding nomination since 2016.

Even with the rate increase, Troy’s sewer rate will still be among the lowest in the area. Keeven said he looked at sewer rates for surrounding communities, both operated by the local municipality and contracted out to Illinois American Sewer.

Using the same base of 2,000 gallons per month, customers in Alton who have privatized service by Illinois American pay $24.17 each month. Godfrey customers are charged $21.14 and Shiloh $28.55. These rates are much higher than municipal operated wastewater services, so the leadership team decided not to bid out the service.

Local municipalities Keeven looked at in their charges (all based on 2,000 gallons per month) include Maryville ($12.20), Glen Carbon ($21), Highland ($23.28), O’Fallon ($26.90), Lebanon ($28), Edwardsville ($29.08), and Mascoutah ($34.66).

The current plant was designed to handle a flow of 1.3 million gallons per day with a peak flow is 3.5 million gallons per day. Flow routinely peaks at 5 million gallons per day. In city and out of city customers served now is approximately 16,000. The new plant will process an average daily flow of 3.5 million gallons and have a peak processing capacity of 9-10 million gallons and will be able to handle a population of up to 19,000.

When the expansion is completed, the old part of the plant will handle excess flow only.

The peaks in flow come from a variety of sources, including illegal connections (property owners tying on their sump pumps or downspouts to the sewer line), and storm water getting into the system through manholes, cracks in the sewer system, and seeping out of the soil when the water table is high. The current sewer was built in the city in the 1940s and water lines were installed in 1926.

The funds received from the IEPA loan will also be used to line the sewers and manholes, reducing the amount of infiltration and inflow of stormwater into the sewer system.

Since 2015, the city has had to submit a facilities management plan on upgrading the facility to the IEPA. Each year the agency has sent a “warning letter” to the city asking what they plan to do to bring the sewer treatment plant up to date. Each year Hancock has done small repairs to allow development to continue, but time has run out. The most recent repairs the city has done at the plant include rehabilitating the tertiary filters that perform the final process.

The project will take three years to complete, one year of engineering and design by TWM with whom a professional services agreement was approved with at the January 18 City Council meeting, then a bidding process and approximately two years of construction. At that time the plant will be 28 years old.

In addition to not being able to grow the city, there is a real risk of “catastrophic failure of sewage backing up into people’s basements” according to Nonn. Hancock added “we don’t want the current concerns to become more frequent and have increased complaints of sewer backups into homes and/or businesses”.

Keeven encourages anyone who still has questions after reading this article to call him at City Hall at (618)667-9924×7501 or email at

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