Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hailey sewer rates set to rise

EPA puts stricter limits on effluent

Express Staff Writer

The Environmental Protection Agency will place stricter requirements this summer on the amount of pollutants that the city of Hailey can discharge from its wastewater treatment plant into the Big Wood River. Due to the EPA's new standards, Hailey wastewater fees will rise 14 percent this summer, increasing household fees $5 to $6 per month for the upcoming fiscal year.

Consultants working for the city projected the fee increase based on the expected cost of upgrade operations at the Woodside Boulevard wastewater treatment facility to meet the new requirements.

The city will be required to buy new monitoring equipment and measure the temperature of the Big Wood River year-round, in addition to reducing the discharge of phosphorous and total suspended solids.

A report presented by Public Works Director Tom Hellen to the City Council on Monday stated that increased laboratory testing, additional chemicals treatments and a new staff position to oversee several required new processes at the facility would result in substantially increased costs to the city.

Some of the funding raised by increased wastewater fees in Hailey will be spent on chemicals that increase the coagulation of pollutants, thereby increasing the amount of dissolved solids that are filtered at the Woodside facility.

The total long-term costs of the upgrade will be presented during budget hearings in the next few weeks, Hellen wrote in a memo Monday. These costs will also be passed on to Hailey residents.

The updated National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit issued by the EPA and monitored by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is a tool for implementing the 1972 Clean Water Act. The basis of the Clean Water Act was enacted in 1948 and called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

Tony Evans:

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