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To Satisfy Demands of DNR
Much of Tuesday night’s Ava City Council Meeting focused on the sewer system – not the residential issue on the northeast side of town that affects a few, but the city’s wastewater treatment plant that serves the entire city.
Mike Pessina, from the firm of HDR Archer, spent nearly an hour giving an overview of the situation facing the city and going over what it will take to fix the problem.
“There are going to be some unappealing decisions to make,” Pessina told the Board of Aldermen.
Using a Powerpoint slides presentation, Pessina explained that the treatment plant does not need to be expanded, but rather the amount of storm runoff entering the system needs to be reduced.
This will be done through identifying where the stormwater is entering the sewer system, then making necessary repairs to eliminate the infiltration.
It is estimated the total cost of identifying and correcting the problem will be around $2.1 million. However, that cost could be spread over 10 years, if the city’s performance satisfies the Department of Natural Resources.
Although not specifically addressed Tuesday night, it is apparent that residents can expect to see an increase in sewer charges in the not too distant future.
Pessina said the overflow problem is to be corrected in five years, but if, after five years the city shows it is going forward with its effort and it making progress on alleviating the overflow situation, DNR could then grant a five-year extension for completion of the project.
There are three ways the city can identify where stormwater is entering the sewer system. They include: 1) visual inspection by city employees, such as locating manholes that are situated where water runoff actually enters the system; 2) smoke tests to identify breaks in lines as well as roof-gutter downspouts that are illegally connected to the sewer system; and 3) inspection of sewer lines from within via closed-circuit TV cameras.
With some 126,000 linear feet of sewer lines to inspect, this would obviously be an expensive way to identify problems in the system. However, using a camera to look inside the lines is an excellent way to identify problem areas.
Pessina said the intent of DNR is to eliminate wastewater from bypassing the treatment plant.
“At the end of the day they want all the water going into the system to be treated,” Pessina said.
The city signed an agreement with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in September 2010, setting this sewer rehabilitation project in motion. However, because of the unusually dry conditions of the past year and the lack of rainfall, it was impossible for the city to monitor noticeable infiltration.
Now, more than 12 months later, the city’s grace period is over and DNR is expecting the city to begin showing evidence of going forward with a plan.
City Administrative Director Peggy Porter said this demand from DNR is not unique for Ava. Other cities across Missouri are being required to locate and eliminate similar water problems.
In other matters on the City Council agenda Tuesday night, the aldermen approved an ordinance calling for the general municipal election next April. At that time two aldermen will be elected, one from the West Ward and one from the East Ward of the city.
Present for Tuesday’s meeting were Mayor Eddie Maggard and aldermen Ric Engelhardt, Judy Lovan and Billy Long. Alderman Burrely Loftin was absent.