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Posted on: April 20, 2022

Wastewater Agency breaks ground on new sewer system

Sarpy County and Cities Wastewater Agency groundbreaking

The Sarpy County and Cities Wastewater Agency today held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Unified Southern Sarpy Wastewater System.

The Wastewater Agency, formed in 2017, is a multi-jurisdictional government body tasked with solving a regional issue: the lack of a unified sanitary sewer system in southern Sarpy County. The six agency members – Sarpy County and the cities of Bellevue, Papillion, La Vista, Gretna and Springfield – have worked together to create the Unified Southern Sarpy Wastewater System, a wastewater system that will help guide and encourage future development.  

“This effort is a regional solution that no jurisdiction could tackle alone,” said Don Kelly, chairman of both the Wastewater Agency and the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners. “It’s taken cooperation and partnership to get here, and I’m pleased to stand alongside our neighbors to create this system that will benefit not only Sarpy County and the Omaha metro area, but the State of Nebraska as a whole.”  

During the ceremony, Kelly recognized three individuals who played a key role in the helping the agency reach this “momentous day:” Former State Sen. Sue Crawford, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy Director Jim Macy and Rep. Don Bacon.

Crawford introduced and championed the legislation that allowed the county and cities to form the Wastewater Agency. Macy and his department awarded the agency a $69.8 million zero-interest loan to cover the initial construction costs. Bacon helped the agency secure $3.4 million in federal infrastructure funding.

The Agency’s work to build the new wastewater system has included approving a Growth Management Plan that established the Agency’s jurisdictional area. This area is largely south of a natural ridgeline that cuts across the county from east to west. The Agency has also signed an agreement to partner with the City of Omaha for wastewater treatment service.  

User rates and connection fees will be used to fund the system. The first phase of construction, which includes an interceptor sewer line to carry wastewater along Springfield Creek, will be paid for with the zero-interest loan from NDEE.  

No property tax dollars will be used to pay for the system, according to the agency’s financial projections.

In full, the system is expected to cost approximately $250 million and will be built in phases over the next 20 to 50 years.  

The Unified Southern Sarpy Wastewater System is expected to open 97,000 new parcels for development. The county currently has 67,000 developed parcels. Additionally, development in the Agency’s jurisdiction is estimated to generate incremental tax revenue of:  

  • $21 million annually in sales tax revenue for the Sarpy cities  
  • $74 million annually in sales tax revenue for the state of Nebraska
  • $31 million annually in property tax revenue for the Sarpy cities
  • $29 million annually in property tax revenue for Sarpy County