Archive for Thursday, September 28, 2006

Differing sewer visions offered

September 28, 2006

After hearing two views on improvements needed at the city wastewater plant, the Eudora City Council decided to get more information before approving a contract for sewer plant upgrades.

In a presentation to the council, Pat Cox -- an engineer from BG Consultants, proposed different options to improve long-term capacity issues. By contrast, city wastewater supervisor Kathy Hernandez urged the council to focus on more immediate problems.

Originally, the council was to review nd vote for a design on a project drafted by BG Consultants to refurbish a lagoon that would help protect the plant from overflow.

The council also heard a request to bid on a belt filter press filtration system.

By the time discussion ended, the council opened up the bidding process for a belt filter press but decided it needed to study the wastewater treatment situation further.

The council first heard from Cox. He gave the council an overview of the plant's capacity and the basic problems.

"The plant was basically built to service a population of 9,000," Cox said.

He presented the council with a need to revamp the plant's head works system.

"Basically, that's where the sewage first flows into the plant," Cox said.

He suggested the possibility and relative feasibility of doubling the size of the head works to prepare for the increased flows caused by growth.

The plant would also need a more advanced way to deal with solids, Cox said.

He suggested an automated bar screen system, which would break up the solid waste as it enters the plant.

Before the city goes out for bids for the screen, it would need to decide how big the head works need to be, Cox said.

"That's one of the issues we face," Cox said.

The other issue was how to deal with solid wastes, Cox said.

To deal with waste management, the city should consider using a belt filter press system, Cox said. The belt filter press processes the excess waste in a more efficient way than the city's current system, he said.

"The belt filter press is a pretty sophisticated piece of equipment," Cox said.

The press could be either permanently built at the plant or portably housed on a semitrailer, Cox said. The city could move the portable press into a permanent location at another time, he said.

After going over basic issues facing the plant, Cox let Hernandez speak.

"I just hope there is no repercussion for my disagreement, but I would like the council to think about some alternatives," Hernandez said. "I don't mean any disrespect, I know I'm not an engineer, but I am very passionate about what I do."

Hernandez first mentioned Cox's plan to revitalize an unused lagoon at the plant ---- a key part of the contract the council was to be voting on.

"I'm not trying to say I know more, but I feel that lagoon is only a Band-Aid," Hernandez said. "It does not correct our system problem. If we want to spend this kind of money, we should look at putting it into the collection system, not some lagoon."

So far, the plant is operating at half its capacity, Hernandez said.

Hernandez suggested the council look at a less expensive option when considering the belt filter press.

Overall, Hernandez wanted the council to focus on the plant's collection system.

City engineer Brian Kingsley of BG Consultants said the refurbished lagoon would give the city more capacity to deal with the peaks in flow.

"You don't have the cap to deal with the peaks right now," Kingsley said. "We have to shave the peaks off."

While discussing the relative advantages of the press system, council members realized more information would be needed before they could reach a consensus.

"Maybe it's time we take one last look before we proceed," Kingsley said.

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