Fulton continues waiting game on sewer improvements with revised plan

City to seek voter support for bond to fund upgrades

City of Fulton officials once again are waiting on approval from the Environmental Potection Agency as to whether they can start taking steps toward making government-mandated improvements at the city’s wastewater treatment plant; this time with a new plan.

Submitted to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on May 24, City Administrator Bill Johnson said the city should know by the middle of July whether the EPA has approved its new permit request.

The EPA objected to the original permit request because it did not include nutrient removal which Dunlap said, “our engineers at one point told us were unattainable.”

After months of negotiations between the city, DNR, the EPA, and with help from consulting firm HDR Engineering, Fulton officials developed a plan to address the EPA’s concerns, which Johnson said he things is a good working solution.

“We’ve been fighting and negotiating with DNR and EPA for over a year, and I am pleased with the results and believe the outcome is the best possible as relates to the Fulton rate payer,” Johnson said during a meeting in his office Friday afternoon.

A new plan

Utilities Superintendent Darrell Dunlap said the primary change between the old plan and the new one is the timeline, which allows for a phased approach to meeting the government’s clean water requirements.

“The facility plan presented to the council (in November) is basically what we’re back to on Phase I,” Dunlap said, noting engineers are pretty confident that the cost ofo approximately $13 million is unchanged. “The main difference is the time schedule and allowing us to re-evaluate the stream at various times of improvements to see if further improvements are necessary.”

With the new plan, DNR has agreed to extend the deadline by which Fulton must meet the new clean water standards on Stinson Creek, into which the wastewater treatment plant discharges, to August 2016, with the ability to make adjustments through Dec. 31, 2016. According to paperwork from the city’s consulting firm on the project, HDR Engineers, Dec. 31, 2016 is the date by which “the City will complete the improvements described in the facility plan as originally planned.”

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