Ahead of possible EPA changes, Council tables sewer bond issue

Cost of project could increase ‘majorly’

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Fulton City Council tabled plans to advance its bond issue on the EPA-mandated sewer plant improvements following a meeting last week with officials that revealed the project’s price tag may be more than anticipated.

In an open work session before the regular meeting, Utilities Superintendent Darrell Dunlap told the council he had met with Missouri Department of Natural Resources officials regarding their permit and consent order for the project, and was told “unofficially” that the EPA would likely object to the city’s plan as it was written.

The sewer plant improvements are multifaceted and include disinfectant processes and other factors, but Dunlap cited EPA issues regarding the total maximum daily load for nutrients and pollutants. Director of Administration Bill Johnson later called the federal standards “scientifically, physiologically impossible to achieve.”

“We couldn’t get (the EPA levels for phosphorus and nitrogen) with an open checkbook,” said Johnson. “They want us to do the impossible, so we don’t even want to mention it in the permit. If we accept the permit and it’s mentioned in there, it’s going to show up.”

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