DNR inspects Westfield wastewater system

Posted January 14, 2014 at 9:36 pm

by Julie Ann Madden

On Sept. 4, 2013, Iowa Department of Natural Resources officials completed a routine triennial inspection of the town of Westfield’s wastewater treatment facility.

The City of Westfield owns and operates its own wastewater treatment facility, which consists of a collection system with one lift station and a two-cell facultative-controlled discharge waste stabilization lagoon.

The lift station is equipped with two pumps, which operate alternately to distribute the wear between the pumps and to ensure that both are working properly.

The city has three of these pumps: one installed several years ago, one installed recently and the third was rebuilt and is being kept as a spare pump in case the others fail.

The floats which signal the pumps to activate have been replaced by Wastewater Operator Terry Jolin.

The lift station has an “automatic (phone) dialer” system which calls specific city officials in the event of pump failure or sewer high level issues. A portable generator provides backup electrical power in case of power failure to the lift station.

According to the DNR’s inspection report, all but one of the permit compliance requirements were “satisfactory.

The one exception was an “unsatisfactory” in the “Self-Monitoring Operation Reports.” But in contacting IDNR Environmental Specialist Senior Bryon Whiting for an explanation, he responded in an email, “The report’s box on Page 1 under the Permit Compliance Summary in Self-Monitoring was checked in error; but the report states correctly in the Self-Monitoring section on page 2 that ‘The operation reports were submitted on time and all required data was reported.’”

In the report’s summary, it listed the following:

• Inspect and calibrate all pumps and meters on an annual or semi-annual basis to ensure accurate flow measurements.

As of the inspection date, the lift station’s influent flow measurement was calculated using the pump’s rated capacity. DNR officials requested the lift station’s actual pumping rate be used to calibrate the influent flow. The latter method provides an indication of the pump’s condition. An actual pumping rate decline indicates the need for pump repair or replacement. Calibrating the pumps and meters on an annual or semi-annual basis, especially after any pump modification or replacement, ensures accurate flow measurements, according to the report summary.

• Consider relocating lift station flow meters to a safe and more convenient location for the operator to take daily readings.

Currently, the wastewater operator must climb down into the dry well on a daily basis to read the pumps for reporting influent flow.

“While it is true that this allows opportunity for him to daily observe the conditions in the dry well, it also is dangerous and physically challenging to climb a vertical ladder,” according to the report, which suggests the pump hour meters be relocated to the adjacent utility pole or near the dry well’s lid opening. The operator’s entry dates into the dry well and its condition could be documented in a different manner.

• Remove floating duck weed on eastern (lagoon) cell.

The weeds can be removed manually or by using an aquatic herbicide.

The report stated the (lagoon) ponds appeared clear with no signs of odor or septic conditions, and the grounds and dikes appeared to be adequately maintained.

Though there is no riprap around the lagoon berms, they show little evidence of erosion at this time, the report continued. City officials are “encouraged” to monitor the berms and if any erosion is found, these areas should be filled with compact clay and covered with 4 to 8 inch-sized riprap. Crushed concrete and rocks should not be used as they provide protection for burrowing animals.

• Periodically monitor the sludge depth levels in the lagoon cells. Excessive sludge build-ups can reduce lagoon storage capacity and diminish treatment.

It was noted Jolin fabricated and installed stainless steel trap cages on the drawdown pipes inside the lagoon cells to prevent pipe plugging from animals or other miscellaneous debris.

• Submit next permit-required Progress Report by Dec. 31.

The town’s NPDES Permit was renewed Jan. 1, 2012, and a written progress report is to be submitted to the DNR every nine months.

The permit also includes a compliance schedule to meet the final chloride effluent limits by Nov. 30, 2016.

According to Whiting, the last time Westfield’s facility was inspected prior to this was May 28, 2010.

At their Oct. 8, 2013, meeting, Westfield councilors reviewed the DNR’s Wastewater Treatment Facility Inspection Report.

In other business, the Council:

• Unanimously approved getting a debit card for City Clerk Angela Olson’s use for training travel expenses.

• Approved transferring IPAIT Account funds to a 36-month Certificate of Deposit with 1.14 percent through State Farm Financial Services. Councilor Marcia Dewey made the motion and Councilor Don Dion seconded it. The vote was three in favor and Councilor Jenny Hartman-Mendoza abstaining as she is employed by State Farm. Council Tami Hummel was absent.

• Received the city’s Code of Ordinances back from Julie Ann Madden who had reviewed them per councilors’ request.

• Tabled a utility rate increase and sewer pond generator purchase.

• Was informed Water/Wastewater Operator Terry Jolin was still working on installing water meter seals.

• Had a request from Dion to have another councilor appointed to the Siouxland Housing Authority as he serves on two other boards. It was suggested to wait until after the Nov. 5 City Election to change appointments.

• Learned a new stop sign was needed on Railroad Drive and a tree needs trimmed on the David Moffatt property on Brule Street to protect the city’s electrical lines.

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