Waste-water management regulation becomes more regulated each year by the EPA and the DEQ. As area cities and towns hit the century mark and beyond it becomes necessary for aging systems to be upgraded and to conform to current permitting requirements. Some of the biggest challenges comes to communities on rivers – and that reflects the challenges of the City of Glendive and Dawson County and the needs for each entity to address waste-water management. The city of Glendive is somewhat ahead of the game and preparing to enter into the selection of the system that will take them through the decades According to Craig Pozega, project manager for Great West Engineering, the county is about six months behind the city in the process.
Great West has worked with city officials to narrow down the choices and challenges in Glendive. The current system was installed between 1906 and 2007 – but primarily before 1930. The current waste-water treatment facility consists of a three-cell lagoon system with discharge to Glendive Creek. Great West says that the current system contains many new monitoring, reporting, and recording requirements as well as stringent new permit limits and Glendive’s current system is not permit able.
The city is looking at design flows with and without West Glendive, which is the responsibility of the county, but leaving the option open for the county to join with the city to meet those residents needs. The focus is on waste treatment, but ultimately local governments will consider the overall system in the treatment modality they choose.
Part of the problem, Pozega said, is where the water discharges to. Currently is it discharged into Glendive Creek. It is likely it will need to be treated differently and then routed to the Yellowstone River. Another possibility is to eliminate discharge and instead utilize storage and irrigation, however there are questions if that will be allowed by federal and state regulation in the future. For now, though, that option will eliminate a need for a discharge permit.
There are three forms of treatment being considered. All are expensive. One is a Lagoon/Moving Bed Bio film Reactor, another is a Biological Nutrient Removal Plant, and a third is a hybrid of the two – a sequencing batch reactor plant. The systems range between six and nine million dollars, the hybrid being the least expensive and storage and irrigation being the most expensive.
Great West and city staff have identified six criteria for choosing the system including Technical feasibility, environmental impacts, financial feasibility, public health and safety, operational maintenance considerations, and public comments. Prior to public comment the subjective weighing system of the options create a matrix with numbers too close to each other to distinguish any preferred option. However, the bottom line Pozega posed to the City Council is “What are you going to do with the waste water?” He explained that in addition to the cost of building the new system, the cost of maintaining the system will need to be considered as well.
The city is on somewhat of a fast track to make some decisions because they need to be prepared to submit to funding agencies by April of 2012. They hope to have a review by the city of the draft options in December with a public input meeting in January and a selection of the system in February of 2011. By June they hope to have a project design and then spend the next year financing the project. The goal is to begin bidding it out in December 2012 and begin construction April of 2013.