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July 17, 2019

7/5/2019 1:14:00 PM
CLJSTC may find allies in invasive eradication

The exceedingly wet spring and cooler early summer temps impacted operations at the Chisago Lakes Joint Sewage Treatment Commission system; but Plant Supervisor Mark Nelson reports things are starting to find a balance.  

The flows were up over the regular seasonal amounts by some 20 million gallons.  Anyone with groundwater issues and a sump pump triggering continuously in their home basement,  can attest to saturated soils conducting infiltration.

The CLJSTC plant is reliant on a biological treatment process and the water temperature for the beneficial microbes to grow in processing tanks also affects the process that degrades the bio-solids.

Nelson added that  “warmup has been slow,” and while the plant’s operating well, the water temp in treatment equipment could  increase for peak efficiency.

Representatives serving on the Chisago Lakes Joint Sewage Treatment Commission also heard at their last meeting that the wastewater industry is taking a little deeper look at the invasive phragmites issue.  

The non-native reed is used in anywhere from 15 to 20 wastewater treatment facilities in Minnesota, including the plant north of Chisago City.  

CLJSTC engineer Ron LaFond told the commission members there’s a movement now to congregate wastewater plant situations and put together a proposal for comprehensive needs of all affected plants, and then the group can look for funding removal of phragmites.  
LaFond commented, “This might be a case where banding together can be beneficial.”  St. Michael is leading this effort now, and was set to offer a teleconference session for all who are interested.

Phragmites was a recommended component of non-mechanical treatment at one time.  It is useful in control of unwanted nutrients in wastewater treatment plant ponds.  The water plant takes up and processes many times its weight-- and Nelson explained how using the reed reduces the frequency of hauling out sludge for processing.  

However, in Minnesota phragmites is highly invasive and is spreading uncontrollably, negatively impacting shorelines and low-lying areas.
In another update, LaFond also reported that the long range capital plan approved by the sewer commission is moving forward. The lift station corridor project is being designed now.  

The regional plant, north of Chisago City, is also getting budgeted maintenance,  and floors in the administrative area are being replaced.

The plant supervisor and commission members have been doing detailed presentations to member city councils on the increase adopted for 2019-2020 capital plan finances, including debt service on the borrowing to support capital projects. Needed Long Term Capital Fund dedicated annual revenues are $127,500 compared to the $76,391 the CLJSTC previously collected.

 Members pay portions of the budget based on the capacity of the plant that each member city owns as well as being charged for metered flow from their areas.

Lindstrom is the largest member owning 30.9 percent, Chisago City 25.5 percent, Wyoming has 23.12 percent, Stacy holds a 9.9 percent share, Center City has 5.5 percent and the south district (Hazelden basically) has 4.64 percent.  County holding tanks are often pumped and processors pay to discharge at the plant, at a share of .42 percent plant capacity. 

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