CARBON -- Commonwealth Engineers, Inc. Vice President Mark Sullivan presented another, possibly "more financially feasible," option to solve Carbon's wastewater treatment issues.
During its monthly meeting, Sullivan proposed a project to enlarge the existing wastewater lagoons in an attempt to save money that Carbon Town Council members say they just don't have.
The lagoons system consists of three earthen basins, two that treat the wastewater and one that acts as a holding lagoon.
"It holds the wastewater before it releases it into the receiving stream," Sullivan said. "My suggestion is to expand the dikes to the north and south to increase the holding capacity from 2.7 million gallons to 4.15 million gallons and make it so they don't have to discharge in the winter."
Since September, council members expressed they are worried Carbon doesn't have enough funding to meet the water quality standard improvements the state is mandating.
"The reason we don't agree with the other options is because we can't afford it," Carbon council member Diane Fields said.
Effective Jan. 1, 2009, the State of Indiana added two new criteria standards, which requires a limit of discharge for ammonia and E. coli levels.
Currently, Carbon's waste stabilization lagoons are in violation of the new standards.
Although this violation doesn't pose a threat to any citizens, the town is still responsible for solving the issue.
The existing lagoons are not designed to effectively treat ammonia in cold weather.
Council members said the current system meets the state's ammonia standards for the majority of the year, but when temperatures drop during winter months, ammonia levels increase.
"To treat ammonia, there has to be sufficient ammonia-eating bacteria, which isn't able to exist in colder temperatures," Sullivan said. "There are three main concerns: Aeration, warm temperatures and long detention times."
So far, all the other possible options Sullivan has suggested besides the No Action Alternative have not been financially feasible for the town.
"I do believe that the engineer's suggested plan to enlarge the existing lagoon is a feasible project for the town both in affordability and making sure the town meets all of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's (IDEM) requirements with ammonia and E-coli," West Central Indiana Economic Development District, Inc., Flood Recovery Coordinator Kristy Jerrell told The Brazil Times. "This will have to be further discussed by the Town Council and presented to IDEM to make sure this is a feasible direction to go. The council did not choose to go ahead with this. There will be much further discussion on the matter."
The total cost for the project is approximately $476,000.
To make the option work, they would need to charge customers approximately $3.65 more on their monthly sewage bill.
"If this option is chosen, we would spend 2012 getting ready to pursue an OCRA (Office of Community and Rural Affairs) grant in 2013, and the town is required to come up with 10 percent of the money for the project," Sullivan said. "The downside of this is that it's still weather dependent."
Council members Dennis Rightsell and Doug Clodfelter were not present during Wednesday's meeting.
The Carbon Town Council members have scheduled a special meeting for Thursday, Jan. 12, at noon in the Carbon Town Hall, 14678 N Locust St.