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State lawmakers visit Austin waste water treatment plant

This is part of a three-day tour taking place across the state.

Posted: Oct 2, 2019 8:05 PM
Updated: Oct 3, 2019 5:15 AM

AUSTIN, Minn. - Minnesota lawmakers made a stop in Austin today to get a tour of the wastewater treatment plant. This is part of a three-day tour taking place across the state. The wastewater treatment plant superintendent Chad Heard gave a portion of the tour and different city leaders took turns giving presentations for the capital investment environment legislative tour.

According to the city engineer, Austin has the highest phosphorus levels in the state of Minnesota. This phosphorous ends travels through the waterways and ends up in places like Iowa. Heard says the phosphorous has the potential to create problems for marine life.

"It just starves them out," Heard said. "It consumes oxygen in the water which the fish and aquatic life need. Cedar river eventually goes down to the Gulf of Mexico."

To bring these levels down the city proposed making changes to the facility and gave numbers on how this would affect residents. Currently, residents pay a $35 user rate fee with a state requested bond that rate would go up to roughly $49 and without funding, that number goes to roughly $52.

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