(Shelby) –The Shelby City Council once again has turned thumbs down on moving forward with a storm drain improvement project, intended to alleviate excess groundwater from over-capacitating the cities sewage system.

The council voted 4-2 against a resolution to establish “storm water drainage system charges,” even after Mayor Larry Bonderud adamantly said the resolution would do nothing more than set the wheels in motion.    The Mayor explained that passing the resolution would allow the council to set up public hearings and it could be amended along the way.  He said most importantly it would help to save two-million dollars in grant money which could be lost if the project doesn’t move forward.

Councilman Gary McDermott said he wasn’t “in favor of the resolution at all until more detailed studies and firm answers from engineers,” on where excess ground water and how much, could be obtained.     McDermott said he is still hearing widely varying figures about how much water is flowing into the sewage system from sump pumps scattered throughout the city.    In one example, he said if the sumps were creating between 150 to 200-thousand gallons, during a given period and the storm drain collected that much, engineers have told me, “there wouldn’t be a need for a 4th cell.”   Mayor Bonderud reports have shown over the last 3 years, there’s an average of 50-thousand gallons per day over what should be going into the lagoon.   The average is arrived at from a full year’s totals.

Mayor Bonderud agreed that more precise measurements would be good but “we know there is a direct spike in inflows to the sewage system when there’s a moisture event.  And there shouldn’t be.”

Former City Superintendent Bill Moritz, now a councilman, commented near the end of the meeting, “we know we want to build a 4th cell don’t we.  Why don’t we start that process?”  Mayor Bonderud suggested that they could put it on the agenda in early February.

The much-discussed Storm Drain improvement project has been scaled back to an approximately 3.8-million dollar project.  Residential property owners would pay an additional $7.91 on their water-sewer bill and would pay 95-dollars per 3-thousand square feet per year.

Because of the situation at the sewage lagoons, the City of Shelby has a current ban in place, preventing any new sewer hookups.