Cambridge increases sewer and water rates Aug. 1 to meet lagoon update requirements

Barb McBreen
Special to the Times
Work on the $850,000 Cambridge lagoon project to meet Iowa Department of Natural Resource requirements began in March and is scheduled to be completed in December.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is requiring the city of Cambridge to reduce ammonia discharges from its city lagoons. To meet those requirements the city is updating the lagoons located on the southeast end of town.

In 2014 the IDNR contacted the city stating that ammonia levels being discharged from the city’s lagoons into the South Skunk River were too high. The city hired Fox Engineering to investigate possible solutions. The engineering firm proposed three options ranging from $630,000 to $1.2 million. After several options were reviewed, the city council decided to pursue the lowest cost solution. That solution involves installing ultraviolet lights to reduce the amount of ammonia being discharged.

C.L. Carroll Company of Des Moines started construction on the $650,000 project in early March with completion planned for December. Engineering fees were around $200,000 bringing the total cost of the project to $850,000.

To cover the updates to the lagoon, the city will be raising water and sewer rates on Aug. 1. On average, residents will see rates increase from $10 to $20 depending on their water and sewer usage. Sewer rates are currently $13 and will be raised to $22. Water currently costs $4 per 1,000 gallons and that will increase to $5 per 1,000 gallons.

Even with these increases the city of Cambridge still offers some of the lowest rates for water and sewer in Story County.

Work on the lagoon began in March and is scheduled to be completed in December.