During the special session meeting Wednesday afternoon, Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Water Quality office Operator Assistance Program Specialist Dave Denman and Bradley Innovation Group, LLC, Executive Vice President of Sales Jason Bradley met with the council to explain and discuss their proposal, which included a plan to reduce winter ammonia levels.
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 the violation doesn't pose a threat to 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.
Since September 2011, council members expressed they are worried Carbon doesn't have enough funding to meet the water quality standard improvements the state is mandating.
Recently, the council decided to choose the No Action Alternative but were still committed to finding possible solutions.
On Wednesday, council member David McFaddin made the motion to accept the Bradley's proposal to install the devices as part of an experimental study.
Council member Dennis Rightsell gave the second, and Carbon Town Council members voted unanimously in favor to accept the proposal.
Meanwhile, town officials are also seeking assistance from the state through a grant application from the Indiana State Revolving Fund (SRF).
Town Attorney Eric Somheil said, "The town fully approves of this proposal, contingent upon the SRF grant."
The accepted proposal states, "Aqua-Manna BOBBER is a mixing and aeration device which contains over 20,000 square feet of media for nitrifying bacteria ... Aqua-Manna proposes to install four BOBBERS."
If the town receives the grant and the device achieves the desired outcome, the town will not be responsible for allocating any funds toward the project.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Certified Operator Doug Clodfelter said the newest option presented is less expensive, easier to manage and more financially feasible to run on a monthly basis when compared to other options the council has considered previously.
"There is less testing involved and an operator is not required, so your (operation and management) costs are reduced," Clodfelter said.
The council agreed.
"It's the best way we've had to go yet," Council President Joann Rightsell said, "and we're going to have to try it."
Dennis Rightsell added, "Sitting here listening to (Denman, the proposal) makes a lot of sense, and it may even solve some of our other problems like the E.coli."
Denman and Bradley explained to the council they've seen success by installing these BOBBERs in similar lagoons systems, such as the experimental devices in Wingate, Ind., a small town south of Lafayette, Ind.
"The systems are very much alike," Denman said, "but their lagoons are deeper and aerated, so they are just different enough that we would benefit from the experimental process, and you may even be able to help other towns like yourselves by doing this."
The council discussed installing the BOBBERs in the second lagoon tank, with an estimated cost of $122,500.
The council said they should know within three-four months if they have received the SRF grant.
The BOBBERS are composed of high-density plastic and stainless steel.
After the devices have been installed 15 months, they become the property of Carbon, and Bradley gave an approximate life expectancy of the BOBBERs of more than 10 years.
According to Denman, each BOBBER has eight outlet points, and 600 gallons of water circulates through the device per minute.
The main cost to the town comes in the form of a $100 per month electric bill increase.
In additions, the council also discussed applying for more grant money to allow them to bring in partners from a university to do a study, but no action has been taken.