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Improvements must be made

Thursday, March 26, 2009

THAYER -- A special meeting was held March 17 at Thayer City Hall concerning the needed improvements at the city's waste water treatment plant.

Charles Ray from Missouri Engineering was at the meeting to explain what needs to be done to meet state requirements.

All council members were present with the exception of Steve Alford who was ill.

"The city of Thayer has been notified by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the regulating agency of the Environmental Protection Agency, that major improvements are required in order to maintain the sewage treatment plant within the regulations of DNR and the Missouri State Operating Permit effluent discharge limitations," Ray said.

DNR has recorded numerous occasions when sewage had to be diverted around the treatment plant.

The city has applied to DNR through their state revolving loan fund but cannot take advantage of this low interest funding without an approved General Revenue Bond.

The city is asking for two propositions, B and C, to be passed by the voters of Thayer to help make the improvements at the plant. Proposition B asks the voters to impose a sales tax of one-half of one-percent for 25 years. Proposition A is asking the voters to approve the sale of revenue bonds in the amount of $4 million to improve the sewer system.

Ray was adamant that both proposals will have to pass before they will be effective.

"The project shows upgrading the sewer treatment plant to be in compliance with Missouri DNR requirements and repair sewer lines that are causing inflow and infiltration flow into the sanitary sewer system," Ray said.

Ray gave some background on the needed improvements. "Rainfall has required the diversion of influent around the treatment plant and has resulted in DNR noncompliance issues. The extreme rainfall in 2008 created major treatment problems for Thayer regarding compliance with its Missouri State Operating Permit," he said.

Besides the upgrading of the sewer plant, evaluation of the sewer system has shown inflow and infiltration into the sanitary sewer system to be a problem and a contributor to the total treatment plant volume of flow.

"Inflow is water that is allowed to enter into the sanitary systems through improper connections or openings in the lines. Infiltration is underground water that enters the sewer system through leaks in the pipe. Both inflow and infiltration are mainly due to rainfall and run off," Ray said.

The DNR Water Protection Financial Assistance Center provides funding for communities for wastewater infrastructure. The State Revolving Fund is a federally capitalized, low-interest loan program.

"A request for $3.5 million has been included by Missouri's Financial Assistance in their intended Use Plan for 2009. Every effort is being made to minimize any change in the city of Thayer's User Rate Charge. The sales tax will provide sufficient revenue to pay the debt of the Revenue Bond. Without it, user rates will have to be increased in order to obtain the same funds for payment of the debt service on the bonds," he said.

City officials have said if the proposals do not pass water bills in the city could raise as much as $20 a month or even more to pay off the needed improvements, if the proposal does pass, for a citizen of Thayer that spent $5,000 locally, city officials estimate the tax would amount to $2 a month.

If the proposals pass or not, the city will be required to complete the improvements. "They (the city) have no choice as these improvements are mandated by DNR and were cited as compliance issues in the last Missouri Operations Permit. I can see the city council is making every effort to have as little impact as possible on the residents of Thayer," Ray said.

Treatment plant improvements include:

* Two new clarifiers.

* Influent bar screen.

* Influent pump station.

* Repairs to oxidation ditch.

* Return sludge pump station.

* Retention basin pump station.

* Retention removal and retention basin rehabilitation.

* Effluent measuring device.

* Laboratory and storage building.

* Two sludge holding basins.

* Site generator and ATS.

* Motor control center.

* Sludge truck and tank.

* Collection system.

* Improvement.

* Sewer line replacement.



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