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Editorial: South Sarpy sewer initiative is a positive partnership

Editorial: South Sarpy sewer initiative is a positive partnership

20190331_new_sewageplantKS001 (copy) (copy)

The Papillion Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, a few miles south of Offutt Air Force Base, is one of two major waste treatment plants in the metropolitan area.

Regional cooperation is impressively moving forward to address one of Sarpy County’s major challenges — the lack of economic development in the county’s southern half. The longstanding problem is a ridgeline that blocks northward sewer flows, stymieing efforts to promote residential and commercial growth through sewer-line construction.

Sarpy municipalities and the county government in 2017 joined together to form a regional authority for construction of a wastewater treatment plant and phased installation of sewer lines. Now Omaha has stepped forward with major help, saying it can process the wastewater. That offer, still to be approved by the City Council, will save the Sarpy regional authority from the heavy expense of constructing and operating the treatment plant.

Dan Hoins, Sarpy County’s administrator, rightly describes the partnership as a “win-win” for Omaha (which will receive more revenue by accepting and treating the wastewater) and Sarpy County (which will be able to boost its economic development). The resulting growth should provide expanded employment and business opportunities, as well as a broader tax base and increased revenues for schools.

This sewer conundrum has been one of Sarpy County’s most daunting challenges, and government authorities there have shown foresight and innovation in joining together to tackle the problem. Installing the sewer lines will take time, but this initiative will achieve important long-term benefits for Sarpy and our entire metropolitan region.

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