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In 2009, Clean Solutions for Omaha (CSO!) submitted its first Long Term Control Plan (LTCP), which was approved in 2010 and is required to be updated approximately every five years. During the development of this initial plan, there was significant public involvement to inform residents about the new Program and its many water quality improvement options. When the plan was updated in 2014, public meetings were again held to inform residents on the status of the Program and updates to the plan. Now, it’s nearing time to release the 2021 LTCP Update in early 2021.
While developing the latest updates to the LTCP, the CSO Program, within the adaptive management process, looked at successes since 2014, always mindful of meeting the 85% capture goal to reduce the volume of combined sewage to the Missouri River and Papillion Creek. Examples of two adaptations are the Fontenelle Park Lagoon and the Saddle Creek Retention Treatment Basin (RTB) projects. These adaptations were particularly efficient and serve as excellent models for future projects.
The first adaptation was the decision in the Minne Lusa Basin to revitalize the Fontenelle Park Lagoon, with accompanying sewer separation west and south of the park, as an alternative to constructing a large stormwater tunnel within the basin that was previously planned. This significantly reduced costs while yielding needed results. The adaptation also doubled as a park revitalization project, transforming the area into a lush community amenity with trails and an expanded lagoon habitat that sustains fish and other aquatic life.
The second adaptation was the Saddle Creek Retention Treatment Basin (RTB) Project. When bids for the Saddle Creek RTB project exceeded the anticipated budget in 2015, the project paused in order to assess different approaches that would maximize water quality and lower costs. The result was a hybrid RTB that would cost less and have the ability to disinfect twice its capacity. The Saddle Creek RTB is now under construction with a completion expected in 2023.
These and many other plan adaptations were made possible by the City’s use of an adaptive management process and value engineering, which enable flexibility throughout the process to identify and implement the most impactful, cost-effective solutions.
Essentially, the CSO Program’s 85% capture requirement is a puzzle, and the LTCP provides guidance on finishing it. Each project is a piece of the puzzle, and as those pieces fall into place, they further clarify where other pieces are going to go and what the result is going to be.
In the first quarter of 2021, there will be many opportunities for stakeholders to learn more about the LTCP’s updates and impact through online resources and a virtual public meeting. In future blog posts, we will discuss other significant evaluations and adaptations included in the 2021 Long Term Control Plan Update.