It’s a sticky situation.
At the Creston City Council meeting Tuesday, Forrest Aldrich of consulting firm Veenstra and Kimm presented results of two tests performed at Creston’s waste water treatment facility and offered reccommendations based on his findings.
Aldrich said tests were performed after Creston Waste Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Jim Bristow contacted him because “he was having difficulty” meeting Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requirement of removing 85 percent of total suspended solids (TSS) from the water that passes through Creston’s treatment facility.
For example, for every 100 pounds of total suspended solids entering Creston’s waste water treatment facility, 85 percent of the solids must be removed, allowing 15 pounds of solids to enter a creek, which leads to the Platte River. Iowa DNR monitors the amount of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and TSS in Iowa’s waterways and has established limits on both.
“As the BOD and TSS are concerned, Wellman Dynamics is a drop in the bucket,” said Aldrich. “The Ferrara Candy Company is a big contributor.”
According to Aldrich, the contributors to TSS in Creston’s waste water are from three sources — residents, Fansteel/Wellman Dynamics and Ferrara Candy Company (formerly Farley’s and Sathers).
Aldrich pointed out a correlation, which does not determine cause, between waste output by Ferrara and Creston’s treatment facility’s ability to effectively meet DNR’s removal requirements.
“At times, on the total suspended solids, they (Ferrara) can be contributing half of everything,” said Aldrich. “Jim asked us to take a look to see if we could do some analysis and to see if we can figure out whats going on, why this might be happening and where it might be coming from.”
Aldrich said the suspended solid waste produced by Ferrara is a biproduct of candy — a type of bacteria from their pretreatment plant.
“It is a slime type bacteria that floats and just passes through (the facility),” said Aldrich. “It will never settle.”
To help prevent the “light and fluffy” slime from bypassing the facility and entering Creston waterways, a polymer system is being utilized by Creston’s wastewater treatment facility in an attempt to filter out the suspended solids. The polymer system typically doses a powder or liquid polymer into the waste water, which coagulates the solids, which are then collected before they enter waterways beyond the treatment facility.
Bristow is concerned TSS in the water will increase dramatically if action is not taken, either at Creston’s waste water treatment plant or at Ferrara’s pretreatment plant.
Aldrich said Ferrara is requesting an increase in their waste output maximum from 1,500 pounds to 2,400 pounds, per day.
“When we drop below that 85 percent (removal rate), Ferrara can only contribute 25 percent, otherwise we are going to violate our permit,” said Aldrich. “That works out to 300 pounds a day — and I think that is an issue with Ferrara. They would have an issue dropping from 1500 down to 300. That would cause them to have to do something additional at their plant.”
To Bristow, an increase in Ferrara’s waste output would significantly increase removal costs for Creston’s waster water treatment facility.
“This is going to cost us $120 a day, plus electricity,” said Bristow. “The problem with these polymers is that it’s actually going to increase sludge production.”
Bristow said he didn’t know exactly how much costs would increase, but it “will be something from $22,000 to $54,000 a year” just to haul off Creston’s treatment facility’s sludge and an additional $7,000 to $20,000 a year for polymers.
According to Bristow, one million gallons of sludge is produced a year, which is currently transported to the airport. If production increases, they would have to acquire more land.
“Sewer rates collected from them (Ferrara) over the last 12 months is only about $6,000 dollars,” said Bristow. “So, this will no way meet what we are going to spend to treat their waste. And we don’t have federal money to help with this problem.”
Bristow would like to see Ferrara reduce their waste output.
Creston City Councilman Larry Wagner asked Aldrich and Bristow to present their findings to Ferrara, which has not yet been done, to see what their proposed solution is and to bring it back to the council.
Representatives from Ferrara Candy Company were not present.
In other city business, the council:
• Approved an airport capital improvement program and application for Iowa Department of Transportation fiscal year 2014 funding based on recommendation of the airport commission.
• Accepted a letter of engagement from Southern Iowa Council of Governents (SICOG) regarding airport zoning ordinance update and land use based on recommendation of the airport commission.
• Tabled a discussion with Dennis Quam regarding private T-hangar building proposal, stamped plans, lease terms, building and concrete at the airport pending a new lease agreement and grant funding approval.
• Declared position of Chris Moore on the Airport Commission vacant.
• Appointed Roger Lanning to the Airport Commission to fill vacancy, which the term will expire Nov. 13, 2017.
• Set a public hearing 6 p.m. May 7 for an easement request to place a fence in the city right of way at 500 N. Cedar St.
• Set a public hearing 6 p.m. May 7 for an easement request to place geothermal piping onto city property at 1503 N. Elm St.
• Set a public hearing 6 p.m. May 7 to amend fiscal year 2013 budget.
• Approved a joint contract between the city of Creston and Union County with Greyhawk Commercial Financing for financing of software from TAC 10 for Law Enforcement Center.
• Approved an acknowledgement and settlement agreement from Casey’s Store No. 2423, which has remitted a civil penalty in the amount of $300 in lieu of participating in a hearing for tobacco sale violations.
• Approved temporary street closings 3 to 6 p.m. April 20, requested by Creston High School prom committee for pictures to be taken — Maple Street from Montgomery to Mills streets.
• Announced, based on the council’s previous recommendation on Aug. 21, 2012, the council will be revisiting the issue of the house located at 500 N. Vine St. and take any necessary action at the council meeting May 7.