The City Council received the report at the Nov. 2, 2015, meeting and had a work session to discuss the findings Nov. 9, 2015.
The report gave the City three options to consider:
Option 1 is to do nothing, which could eventually involve hefty fines levied on the city by KDHE and the EPA and/or revoking the City’s permits to operate the wastewater system. The EPA could also force the City to make upgrades at the EPA’s choosing, taking the decision away from the City.
Option 2 would be to modify the existing lagoons at a ballpark figure of $6 million.
Option 3 would be to build a mechanical wastewater treatment facility at a ballpark figure of $15-16 million.
According to the report, the City would face multiple violations for ammonia and BOD. Additional findings show areas of concern in not having 3-phase power at the South Lagoons, the reliability of the current equipment and nitrification bacteria loss in cold weather. Without 3-phase power at the South Lagoons there is no availability for back-up power if we have a major electrical outage. Nitrification loss means cold weather kills the organisms that break up waste so it’s much harder to treat the waste.
In addition, the report advised that there very likely could be further restrictions imposed by the EPA further decreasing acceptable ammonia levels and quite possibly placing restrictions on nitrogen and phosphorus limits in the near future. Our current system does not have the ability to meet those potential requirements.