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Costco informs city of Morris of downsized plant plans

Committee discusses possible treatment plant upgrades

MORRIS – Costco threw a curveball Wednesday at the Morris Water and Sewer Committee.

Costco development manager Ted Johnson informed Mayor Richard Kopczick in a phone call before the scheduled committee meeting that Costco now intends to build a 256,000-square-foot meatpacking plant rather than the more than 360,000-square-foot facility originally planned.

The meeting was scheduled to address, among other items, necessary improvements to the city’s sewer treatment plant if Costco were to build a meatpacking facility using 250,000 to 400,000 gallons of water per day.

After the meeting, Kopczick said the change to the plans was unexpected, but it doesn’t alter the city’s intent to get the right system in place. He said Johnson told him Costco began the bid-letting process for the larger facility and was surprised by the high costs.

The updated plan still features one assembly line each for hot dogs, sausage and meatballs. A future expansion, perhaps years from now he said, could add another meatball processing line and boost water use to 400,000 gallons a day.

In the meeting, Larry Good, who specializes in water and wastewater at Chamlin & Associates – the city’s engineering firm – detailed four potential plans and costs.

The city would get about $1 million from Costco toward the cost through water and sewer per acreage fees regardless of the plan chosen, Kopczick said. The rest of the expense is the city’s responsibility to fund, but will be repaid by any other future developers because the improvements would allow for possible industrial development along Brisbin Road.

For now, the committee is looking at an option that includes a higher biochemical oxygen demand load and capacity to handle an additional 400,000 gallons a day. It would cost about $2.2 million.

The committee also is considering a more detailed plan with an unknown cost. Good said he will work on a preliminary estimate for the project, which would fill all needs. Kopczick said that leaves plenty of room for future growth.

“I’d rather have it ready to go for further expansion,” Kopczick said.

The city’s newer of two treatment plants, which is where Costco’s waste will flow, was designed to expand to handling 4.5 million gallons. 

“Right now we’re at 300,000 gallons,” Kopczick said. “Our old central plant is maxed at around 2.5 million gallons average daily flow.”

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