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      Crucial sewer issue on the table for Lewistown voters

      The city of Lewistown Missouri is caught between a rock and a hard place.

      Changes in regulations are forcing the city to ask voters to a approve a 2 million dollar bond to improve the city's sewer system.

      Lewistown Mayor Steve McKenzie expressed his frustration over the position the city finds itself.

      "I don't like it anymore than anybody else does," McKenzie said. " But the fact is we got to get on the same page with DNR or we're not going to have a license."

      Lewistown Missouri Mayor Steve McKenzie is talking about the city's sewer license.

      He and the city's alderman have spent the last few weeks trying to encourage voters to support for a 2 million dollar bond to improve the city's sewer management system.

      Although the city built an up to code sewer system in 2004, changes in the clean water act of 1972 are forcing the city to make more improvements or face heavy fines of up to a thousand dollars each day that the city is not in compliance with regulations.

      "The regulations have changed several times and mostly, recently to regulate our outflow from our lagoon pipe, the water that runs into the stream, which could cause contamination and problems for aquatic life in the area." McKenzie said.

      Working with Mark Bross of Kilinger and Associates , the city has come up with an alternate plan to modify its sewage treatment process by spraying the sewage effluent on to crop land like a hay field.

      "What that will do is free them from a lot of the regulations coming in the near and long term, " Bross said. "And allow them to operate their system without having to turn around in five or ten years and upgrade again."

      If the bond is approved the city will be able to get grants and low interest loans for the project.

      Residents will see an increase in their bills.

      A resident who uses 5,000 gallons per month could expect a sewer bill increase between $37 and $42.

      That's compared to an increase of between $60 to $62 if the if the bond does not pass.

      "Yes it upsets me when I get my utility bill and I see that they are high, " Lewistown resident Janis VanMeter said. "I don't want it go much higher but I would rather have it go a little bit higher than pay a tax on this."

      "This is real and these things are passed down to us by the government that says we have to do them and if we don't we're gonna have to pay a lot more in the end." Lewistown resident Eileen Link said.

      The money will also be used to make some needed to replace some old pipes in the city's water system.

      Lewistown voters will make their choice on this issue on November 5th.