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Earth Day Program at FCMS

By Signal Staff

USDA Rural Development Nebraska staff and partners joined Fairmont residents and the Fillmore Central Middle School students last Wednesday to celebrate Earth Day 2017. Rural Development highlighted a $293,000 investment in Fairmont’s wastewater improvement project.
USDA Rural Development Acting State Director Denise Meeks presented Village of Fairmont Board Chairperson Donald Moses with a plaque and an United States of America flag in celebration of the funding received.
“We are very grateful for the assistance from Rural Development,” Moses said. “We look forward to working with them on future projects.” Moses also mentioned that the village board will be looking to team up with USDA Rural Development again for a future water and sewer line extension project to the recently-annexed Casey’s General Store location southwest of Fairmont. The nearly one-mile extension project is expected to take place after harvest this year.
“It is a real honor to be here today to announce USDA Rural Development’s funding commitment for a wastewater project that will serve nearly 600 residents, and enhance the community’s infrastructure,” Meeks said. “The theme for Earth Day 2017 is Building Rural Infrastructure. This project will positively impact the lives of Fairmont  residents for years to come.”
 FCMS students also participated in a special Earth Day Poster Contest before the April 19 program.
 “FCMS was happy to partner with the USDA Rural Development and the Village of Fairmont to celebrate Earth Day 2017,” FCMS Principal Steve Adkisson said.  “Our students enjoyed participating in the poster contest and finishing the afternoon with our Community Clean-up day.  The program was another opportunity to educate our students on the importance of working together to take care of our resources.”
 The Village of Fairmont’s four cell complete retention lagoon system, installed in 2005, is oversized with only one of the four lagoons being used.  Grasses and other vegetation are growing in the unused lagoons that compromise the integrity of the cell liners.  The one used lagoon is nearly full. If this lagoon overflows into the unused lagoons, then there is large risk that partially treated wastewater will contaminate the groundwater in the immediate area. The engineer calculated that only half of another lagoon is necessary for full retention into the future.
Chris Jewett, a regional field manager with the Midwest Assistance Program, told those in attendance that bringing the village’s rehab lagoon up to new standards is a good thing.
“This is a sign of your village being a good steward by taking on this type of project,” Jewett said.  “This is your environment, your future.  Take care of it.  This all pertains to you.”
Mike Schultes with JEO Consulting Group, Inc., and Randy Hellbusch with the Nebraska Rural Water Association also talked at the special 1:30 p.m., program.  One note that was made on April 19 is the fact that nine miles of water pipe are located underneath the Village of Fairmont.
USDA Rural Development funded this project with a $126,000 direct loan for 40 years at two percent and a grant in the amount of $167,000. These funds will increase activity of the lagoon system from 12 acres to 18 acres and the unused lagoon cell will be divided in half using an earth berm. Overflow pipe work will be installed in order to increase the capacity of the wastewater system.