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home : news : news August 23, 2017

8/4/2017 2:28:00 PM
CLJSTC advises hike in long term capital fund

The monsoon rainfalls in July could have been timed better for performing required maintenance at the Chisago Lakes Joint Sewage Treatment Plant.  Add a power outage or two affecting lift stations, and local wastewater system operators are dealing with more than the usual challenges this summer.

Wastewater collected from Chisago, Lindstrom, Center City, the Hazelden campus, Stacy and Wyoming is treated by the Chisago Lakes Joint Sewage Treatment Commission.  Last week officials were  told the plant cleaning process that happens every several years is being choreographed in between the downpours.  This requires draining the pools where the waste is broken down by biologic digesters in a process called sequence batch reaction (SBR).    The plant needs to meet state conditions before effluent is ultimately discharged into the nearby small creek, and the bacterial digestion is part of the process.

Last week one of the two SBR pools was drained and cleaned, and the second pool was being done this week. Membranes or “socks” get replaced too.

Customers won’t even notice when half the SBR system is off-line, explained Plant Supervisor Mark Nelson.

Nelson told the commission members  that about 60,000 gallons of imported activated sludge from Cambridge, seems to have been successful in beefing-up the plant mixture, to aid in reducing ammonia. He said he’s hoping the infusion lent enough nutrient support to the bacteria,  to hit the required ammonia limits and he continues to work with the MN Pollution Control Agency to maintain these results. In March 2017 the plant violated limits in one testing after a 2015 state notice the limits were also exceeded.

The commission then gave the okay for Hydro-Clean to do manhole coatings.  

Nelson has 35 to 40 manholes that could use attention, but the product applied by this company has a pH restriction;  so he said he’ll do site visits and determine which manholes have an interior pH conducive to having the lining product applied.

Nelson was unanimously approved (member Ron Swenson absent) to find 12 manholes able to be done for a quote of $21,329.  Nelson said he budgeted $25,000.

The manholes have vertical sides made of concrete which  erodes over time due to the wastewater’s hydrogen sulfide content.  “We are starting to be able to see where it has eaten into aggregate on the sides of some of the manholes,” Nelson warned.

He added, “This year we had over $100,000 in projects and the annual five percent increases (historically assessed to member cities) are insufficient.”

The joint sewer commission is starting to develop its next year budget and analysis so far doesn’t point to needing rate hikes for users.  

The CLJSTC does support, however,  an immediate  10 percent hike in the Long Term Fund contribution-- divided amongst member cities based on use.    Every member should expect a 10 percent increase in whatever their share is,  of this fund item, billed in September.

The CLJSTC budget committee meets again August 21 at 3 p.m. at Lindstrom City Hall.

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AnnMarie Brink - US Bank

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