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Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

Purdy still seeking answers to sewer issue

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Members of the Purdy Board of Aldermen are still seeking answers to ongoing problems with the city's water and wastewater treatment issues, and time is quickly running out for financial options for this fiscal year.

Officials with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have mandated upgrades to the city's wastewater system to meet their requirements. In their regular August meeting, Purdy aldermen agreed that installation of four more test wells near the existing lagoon was a necessity. Those wells will test for nitrate levels in the ground water surrounding the lagoon.

One test well has a history of consistently high levels of nitrates, but city officials speculate that is due to nearby agriculture operations.

Glen Davidson, an engineer with Allgeier, Martin and Associates, was on hand to offer advice on what DNR is expecting and options for city leaders to consider.

"DNR has urged the city to pursue the option of installing additional monitoring wells further upstream to monitor nitrates," Davidson said. "In addition, we would want to monitor the lagoon and creek for nitrates."

Proposed sites for the test wells would include one on the west edge of the existing property, the second across the creek on the east side, the third along the south edge of the property, and the fourth located near an existng well on the west side.

Davidson told council members that a minimum of three months of data collection would be necessary to determine if nitrates are a problem at those well sites.

Davidson also proposed council members invest in a geologic investigation of the existing lagoon site to determine if it truly meets DNR's designation of having "severe collapse potential."

DNR has not done any geologic surveys of the site to confirm that rating.

Cost of the two projects would be $27,395.

As for solutions to the lagoon issue, Davidson proposed several alternatives, from construction of a mechanical plant, pumping wastewater to Monett's treatment plant for processing, or construction of a recirculating intermittent sand filter system.

According to Davidson, DNR's concern is the city's current holding capacity at the lagoon.

"Presently, the lagoon gives 40 days of storage before you have to irrigate," Davidson said, wich adds to the challenges of irrigating during winter or a particularly wet season."You need a minimum of 32 million gallons of storage."

Aldermen also face concerns about how to fund the wastewater system improvements.

The city is seeking a $1.7 million loan from USDA's Rural Development program and the remainder from a bond issue, which could be placed before voters in the upcoming November election.

"We're going to have to have a lot of grants to do this project," Davidson cautioned aldermen.

Davidson also told aldermen that loan and grant requirements would place the city in the position of having to charge a minimum 2 percent water and wastewater charge on the median income level of Purdy residents.

Monthly charges for water and wastewater usage may range anywhere from $44 to $49 per month, depending on the type and amount of funding that aldermen can obtain for the project. Those costs drew objections from some spectators at the meeting.

"For the record, [aldermen] all pay the same bill, and we don't like it either," said council member Wayne Rupp.

"This is not something we want to do," added Alderman Ken Real. "We're not the only ones being affected by this."

Presently, city workers plan to smoke test city lines for inflow and infiltration (I&I) beginning Aug. 23. Purdy residents will be notified of the results and, if necessary, asked to make repairs to their portion of the system.

Aldermen opted to table the matter until additional research on funding can be completed.

A special meeting on the matter is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 16 at City Hall.



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