Friday, August 04 2017 @ 11:10 AM PDT
Contributed by: Admin
FROM THE CITY OF NEZPERCE
The City of Nezperce is planning to increase sewer rate by $4/month in response to violations of the City’s NPDES permit, which is issued by the EPA to authorize discharge of wastewater into Long Hollow Creek.
In 2006-2008, we completed a Facility Plan to prepare for the downtown Oak Street project completed in conjunction with the Idaho Department of Transportation. The Facility Plan reviewed all components of the City’s wastewater system, including collection and treatment facilities. The Plan recommended a phased approach, Phase I being completed in 2009 during which time we completed significant wastewater upgrades including pipe replacement beneath Oak Street and upgrades to our lagoons. Phase II was scheduled for completion following receipt of a new discharge permit, which has yet to be issued at this time, and would likely consist of more significant upgrades to the treatment facilities.
Our wastewater collection system was constructed in 1916, and the treatment facilities are insufficient to treat elevated flows entering the system as a result of Infiltration and Inflow. Infiltration is groundwater that enters the system through cracked, degraded pipes and faulty connections. Inflow is water that enters the sewer through more direct connections including roof and foundation drains. As a result of Infiltration and Inflow, our flows are over 400% higher than would typically be expected for similar systems. All these additional flows must be treated and discharged to wastewater standards under the Clean Water Act and as established by the EPA.
In between the Phase I and Phase II projects, the City has leveraged available wastewater funds through annual pipe rehabilitation projects to reduce high flows entering the system. The benefit of pipe rehabilitation is twofold: it allows the City to replace pipe that is over 100 years old, and also reduces the size of a potential Phase II treatment project.
Despite our efforts, the EPA is not satisfied with the quality of effluent discharge to Long Hollow Creek, and it is likely that a financial penalty will be imposed together with a formal schedule for compliance with the discharge permit. The EPA has requested a 3 year compliance schedule which would immediately drive a large treatment project. We are hopeful that we will be able to negotiate a 10 year compliance schedule, allowing us more time to reduce high flows and to minimize a treatment facility project.
The proposed rate increase is needed to fund pipe rehabilitation and a reduction in flows, and we ask for resident’s understanding and support during this time. We also encourage all of our residents to let us know of any roof drain or foundation drain connections they have, as we would like to review these with you on a case-by-case basis to identify alternatives to dispose of the water. It appears we will have a limited window to attack and reduce our high flows. The more we can do now, the smaller a treatment project will be in the future.