October 26, 2020


PLACE: Training Room – Nezperce City Hall, 606 Maple Street.


Pledge of Allegiance:  The pledge was led by Mayor Bateman

Introductions followed: Councilmembers Steve Bateman, Michelle Lyons, Mike Jensen, Jim Zenner and Tyler Nelson, Maintenance Supervisor Craig Cardwell and Clerk-Treasurer Rhonda Schmidt. Guests present were John Lynn from USDA Rural Development; Michael Camin from DEQ; Dodd Snodgrass of CEDA and presenter JUB Engineer Amy Uptmor. Nezperce residents present were: Megan Snyder, Mike Murt, Becky and Oscar Tiegs, Jim and Dianne Freeman, Vern McMaster, Roseale Figgins, Dan Roberts and Caron Turner.

1.  Uptmor facilitated a slideshow that covered the last decade of events that has brought the city to planning stage of a reuse wastewater project.
       a.  Regulatory Concerns- City has not able to meet permit limits since 2008 in BOD and TSS. A penalty of $6,500 was issued for non-compliance in 2018.
       b.  Permit & Compliance Timeline – new EPA permit comes with additional ammonia testing  limits the city can’t meet.
       c.  Facility Plan – Plan is developed by JUB with options of reuse or mechanical treatment  and the associated costs for each project. Mechanical treatment would be approximately 11 million with EPA as the regulatory agency (for surface water discharge) or a reuse project at approximately 7.6 million with DEQ as the regulatory agency (for a reuse system).
       d.  Reuse Project – City chooses to develop a reuse project with the idea of a 35-million-gallon storage lagoon to store treated water to later be irrigated during summer months.
       e.  Facility Plan Process – JUB completed a plan that was reviewed by the appropriate  agencies and public, city adopts the plan.
       f.  Project Funding-City needs to pass a bond, working on block grants and funding from USDA as well as the Corps of Engineers 595 grant program.
       g.  Rates Impact – The goal is to keep sewer residential rates around $60.00 a month.
       h.  Neighboring Compliance Projects – Cities of Culdesac, Julietta, Kooskia, Genesee to name a few are looking at doing projects.
       i.  Compliance & Funding Deadlines – When Nezperce received a draft EPA permit we asked for a compliance schedule as we knew that we would not be able to meet ammonia limits. We did not receive a compliance schedule so had to hire an attorney that cost the city close  to  50,000.00 to get the EPA to negotiate a compliance schedule that gives the city until 2027 to complete a project.

A question of whether stormwater or I & I helps the situation or is it part of the problem. Can I & I be used to dilute the wastewater and bring concentrations to acceptable levels?  The answer is that the EPA does not allow I & I be used to dilute wastewater for purposes of compliance.  They regulate both % removals and total loads.  Although I & I reduces concentrations, it also makes % removals more difficult to attain, and has no impact on total loads.  The city has been able to correct a large amount of stormwater to the creek but I & I is an issue because of the age of the clay sewer lines in town.

A question of whether farm chemicals are contributing to compliance issues. Although there may be some areas from nearby agricultural fields that drain into the City, the drainage areas are limited.  The City is only responsible for end-of pipe compliance.  Surface water samples upstream of the Facility are obtained per permit requirements.  Further, the Tribe is driving development of a TMDL, the purpose of which is to identify & separate responsibilities of non-point sources (such as agriculture) and point sources (such as the City) to reach water quality objectives of the stream.  The TMDL is not yet complete, and is in review by the EPA.  It is unknown when it will be finalized.

A question of will the Nez Perce Tribe add any regulations to the city because it sits on the reservation was asked.  DEQ has regulatory authority for reuse permits for Nezperce.  The Nez Perce Tribe does not have regulatory authority for the State’s reuse permit program.  It is unknown in the long-term future what role the Tribe may have within the Reservation or how oversight by the Tribe would be resolved with the State.

A question of are there other reuse projects in the area? The answer is that Cottonwood, Kootenai-Ponderay Sewer District, Payette Lakes in McCall, and the University of Idaho in Moscow all have reuse projects.  Coeur D‘Alene has a small stormwater reuse system.  Mike Camin indicated there are about 150 total reuse systems in the State.

Is there an E-Coli presence that will need to be addressed if the irrigation goes to hay or alfalfa to be fed to cows? Is there a withdrawal timeframe associated with slaughter?  The answer to this question will be addressed when the state permit writer writes the permit.

A citizen made the statement that he is not getting a raise this year so that an increase in rate will bite into the pocket. John Lynn with Rural Develop added that this project will be in phases to take full advantage of funding options. 2 block grants are worth 1,000,000; USDA has lots of grant monies and very low interest loans; DEQ can help with loan funding; will be taking advantage of the Corps 595 grant program. The USDA wants to keep the sewer rates as low as possible, and similar systems are paying a rate of approximately $60/month

Mayor Bateman fielded a question from a citizen that was submitted electronically asking why ammonia is now a concern when it wasn’t in the past?  Mike Camin discussed that the surface water beginning near Nezperce passes through many communities, and each community contributes to overall surface water quality downstream.  Each community must contribute to the solution, and as populations increase, there is increasing pressure to maintain surface water quality.

Cm. Zenner asked about funds getting tight if all these cities are looking for money for projects. Future funding is unknown, but Uptmor reiterated that to access any of the available sources, the bond needs to pass so that these funding agencies see that the community is buying into the project.

Michael Camin added that the permit writer for a city project is in Lewiston and will be happy to answer any questions and that the DEQ is happy to help in any way possible.

Dodd Snodgrass added that a public hearing is required for the block grant at the November 9th council meeting if the bond passes on November 3rd so that the application can be submitted later in November. He informed that to apply for a block grant the city had to pass the LMI survey requirements and did.

With nothing further to discuss the mayor stated that the open meeting is closed, thanked everyone for attending and then the council moved to other business.


Purchase and Sale Agreement: Uptmor informed the council that she had a conversation with city attorney Herrington regarding a purchase and sale agreement and he advised to go ahead and get a price contingent on an appraisal. The council discussed and agreed that they would prefer to own the property to be irrigated rather than have a long-term agreement with a farmer. Yes, it will cost more upfront but the city would have control over the irrigation and the crops growing. Cm. Nelson added that he is working on a few seed orchard growing operations. The trees would only grow to a specific height so that harvesting the seed is made easy. Nelson added that there is assistance with such a project through an NRCS program. Following discussion Cm. Zenner moved to move forward with an appraisal of the Payne property if the bond passes, Cm. Nelson seconded the motion, motion passed. We will need to find an appraiser.

ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 7:00PM.

Other/Upcoming Events:
Upcoming Council Meetings: December 14th and January 11th at 5:30PM
Holiday Closures: November 11th, 26th & 27th and December 25th and January 1st

The next regularly scheduled city council meeting will be on Monday, November 9th at 5:30 PM at City Hall.

___________________       __________________________
Steve A. Bateman, Mayor            Rhonda J. Schmidt, Clerk-Treasurer