Aebra Coe- (231) 439-9397- email@example.com
5:31 AM AKST, December 20, 2012
EAST JORDAN -- The city of East Jordan is considering an expansion of its wastewater treatment facilities in order to accommodate residential, commercial and industrial growth.
On Tuesday evening, city commissioners learned the details of three options for expansion of the facilities. The options were presented by representatives of the Gaylord office of Wade Trim, a national engineering and design firm that has been studying the effectiveness and capacity of East Jordan's wastewater treatment over the past six years.
According to a report presented to the commission by Wade Trim, three possible expansion options for the city include expanding irrigation acreage at its Carson Road site, switching to a mechanical treatment plant to accommodate growth for unspecified industries, or to negotiate a capital contribution by Burnette Foods, a large food packaging factory in the city, to build a mechanical treatment plant which would accommodate the waste of both the city and the factory.
Successful negotiation with Burnette Foods would likely be East Jordan's best option for improving its facility in a cost-effective way, said Wade Trim Municipal Services Director Paul Repasky.
The wastewater treatment plant in East Jordan is currently operating at somewhere between 75 and 89 percent of its permitted capacity of about 75 million gallons a year of discharge.
The existing treatment system pumps wastewater to a plant at the city's industrial park where it is treated in two lined stabilization ponds. The water is stored during the winter, or, in the summer it is applied to the ground through five spray irrigation fields and five flood irrigation fields.
Four of the flood irrigation fields have not been used though in recent years because wastewater was not evenly dispersing and pools formed of partially treated, nutrient-dense water.
By 2018, Repasky projects the city will be at 95 percent of its permitted capacity.
To reach that level would take modest levels of residential and commercial growth, or a spike of 12,400 gallons per day in discharge, and significant industrial growth isn't currently a viable option with the available capacity of the plant.
"That's not a good position to be in," said Repasky, adding that five years will give the city a good amount of time to plan and implement a change.
Expansion of the city's current facility at Carson Road would be the least expensive alternative, said Repasky, but would not accommodate industrial users unless they pretreat their wastewater to domestic strength. It would restore some of the plant's capacity for treating residential and commercial waste, but not the same volume as constructing a mechanical treatment plant.
Switching to a mechanical treatment plant would allow for growth in all three sectors. Spray pumping of partially treated sewage into fields would be eliminated through this method because the wastewater would be fully treated by the time it reached the ground.
Construction costs would be significantly more than would an expansion of current facilities, though.
Because of that, Wade Trim's official recommendation to East Jordan on the matter is to "enter substantive negotiations with Burnette Foods regarding their willingness to make capital contributions to construct a new wastewater treatment plant that is capable of treating the high-strength wastewater from their existing and anticipated production lines."
Burnette Foods currently has one production line of its own that runs at 65,000 to 85,000 gallons per day of discharge. The company would like to expand and construct a second production line at 100,000 to 165,000 gallons per day.
A joint venture creating new infrastructure could be beneficial to both the company and the city, said Repasky.
Follow @aebracoe on Twitter.
Copyright © 2013, Petoskey News