A potential comprehensive water plan for the city of Olney was briefly discussed when the Olney City Council met Monday, March 10, but no decisions were made. Councilman Jake Bailey brought up the possibility of hiring a professional firm to look into possible water solutions for Olney heading into the future at a previous meeting, and asked on Monday if other council members would be in favor of such a plan.

“I want to see if the Council thinks it's something we want to pursue or wait,” Bailey said.

The first step in finding a firm to put together such an in-depth plan is to compile a “request for proposals” (RFP). Bailey said there was no need to go to that trouble if the council was not interested in moving forward with the comprehensive plan at this time.

“We should start to get a good idea of what we want the RFP to be, then decide if we want to pursue it,” Marshall Leemann said.

Bailey never really got an answer as conversation quickly turned to other water-related matters. Mayor Brenda Stennett questioned what might happen to the city's current effluent water users, Tower Extrusions and the Olney Country Club, if and when the city begins re-using effluent water for citizens. Right now, she said, those two entities purchase the effluent water from the wastewater plant, but would likely have to stop or dramatically cut back if the city starts returning it to Lake Olney sometime next year.

“It will be something we have to decide,” City Administrator Danny Parker said, noting available treated water will make it a non-issue, but another year like the last one, with little rainfall and lower lake levels, will require some tough decisions. 

Regardless of how much effluent water either the Country Club or Tower is using, Stennett said again it is likely they will both have to cut back.

“I know it's a business, but we also have a business here to run,” she said, adding that they would just have to wait on usage numbers in the future before deciding.

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