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The city’s Public Works Department staff received high praise at April’s first meeting of the Salmon City Council.

At the March 3rd Salmon City Council meeting community volunteers, retired welding engineer and quality analyst Roger Grenier and biochemist/data reduction analyst Calvin Leman, presented their evaluation of the city’s waste water treatment system problems. Grenier stated, “Namely, the plant has not been proactively managed to date.” He went on to pinpoint an insufficiency and instability of data and said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has yet to receive an operations and maintenance plan for the plant which is a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program requirement.

A work session to discuss the findings reported by Grenier and Leman as well as the general condition of the waste water treatment plant was held on March 22nd. It was attended by representatives from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), as well as personnel from the engineering firm of Keller and Associates. Local participants included the city’s Public Works department, City Council members, City Administration personnel, Leman and Grenier.

At the April 7th City Council meeting Councilman Ken Gutzman reported on what was discussed at the work session and he quoted the written comments submitted after the meeting by Keller and DEQ representatives. The officials commented, “The system does have an Operation and Maintenance Manual for the waste water system and it is our understanding that EPA has been informed of this also. In working with the city of Salmon we have found that the Public Works staff, including the waste water operator Harry Shanafelt, has been conscientious and professional. The waste water system has been managed and maintained very well as is evidenced by the very good quality of the effluent being produced by the waste water treatment plant. The plant is being operated effectively. The NPDES permit violations are not the result of insufficient attention to the proper monitoring and operating of the waste water treatment system. The excellent work by the city of Salmon should be commended.”

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program is managed by the Water Permits Division (WPD) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s office of Waste Water Protection.

Gutzman said other comments offered by the DEQ and Keller were related to present system needs including reduction of infiltration and inflow in the sewer lines and what should to be done to the treatment lagoon itself. The DEQ and Keller and Associates agree and recommend that the build-up of sludge needs to be removed in order for the lagoon to operate effectively. The lagoon was built 23 years ago and accumulated sludge has never been removed. Periodic removal is considered a necessary procedure that should be performed every ten to 15 years.

The city is working on a step by step sewer treatment system restoration plan which will begin this Fall with the replacement of some underground delivery lines and the lining of others. Step two will be doing whatever is necessary to bring the treatment lagoon back to full efficiency.

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