Branson awarded $13 million in grants to upgrade wastewater treatment facility

Published: Apr. 14, 2023 at 5:00 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2023 at 7:12 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - The City of Branson is celebrating after receiving $13 million in grants to place a flood wall around the city’s largest wastewater treatment facility

Branson is getting $10 million in state-appropriated funds and $3 million more in federal money to build a 7-foot 9-inch steel wall that will be 2,200-feet long. It will encircle the Compton Drive Wastewater Treatment Facility located downstream of Table Rock Dam with the goal of keeping out flooding from nearby Lake Taneycomo.

There have been three major flooding events in 2011, 2015, and 2017 that almost got into the plant that serves two-thirds of the community including the downtown area.

Had the flood waters reached the plant the consequences could have been twofold. There was the possibility of Lake Taneycomo becoming contaminated with sewage and the facility could have suffered major damage shutting down 80 percent of the town’s waste water treatment capability.

“It could have short-circuited pumps and electrical equipment virtually making the plant inoperable,” explained Branson Director of Utilities Kendall Powell. “We estimated it could have done approximately $80 million in damages with several months of it being down while we worked through the process of bringing it back online and obtaining components.”

The other plant would not have been able to take over the extra sewage treatment had the Compton Drive plant been knocked out. And while the general public will probably never notice this contribution from the state and federal government unless they drive by the plant, they would definitely have noticed had the city been without sewage treatment for months.

“In economic development we do the things that most people think just happen,” said Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Maggie Kost at a ceremony announcing the project on Friday at the plant. “I think most people take something like this for granted.”

“We are grateful to our partners for their dedication to a project so very important to our citizens and our community,” said Branson Mayor Larry Milton. “Our team of leaders with the City of Branson also deserves great thanks for moving this much-needed project forward. I know we’re at a sewage treatment facility and it’s not a sexy topic.”

“But here’s something that is,” responded Governor Mike Parson when he followed Milton to the podium to speak to the crowd. “You can take the $10 million that we’re going to help with on this facility and spend it on other things that are more noticeable such as streets, bridges and public safety. We’re doing 81 of these same kind of projects across the state and it’s mainly with the smaller communities. You’re going to see some of the largest investment in infrastructure over the next five-to-seven years that we’ve seen in our lifetime on projects just like this.”

The new wall will be a big improvement over a temporary inflatable wall that had been used in the past with mixed success.

“It was a bladder system that came in long sections and took about 50 people and 48 hours to put up,” Powell said. “It would stop the flood waters temporarily but with the soil conditions that are underneath the treatment plant the water would seep-up beneath the plant as well. So we would have to do emergency pumping within the treatment plant as the water bubbled up. This new wall will be driven down to bedrock so that will cut off the water from-above-and-below the plant.”

Construction on the wall is scheduled to start this summer and be completed by next fall.

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