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City finds solution for sludge issue

Richmond City Administrator Rick Childers had news to deliver to the City Council Tuesday night concerning the city’s lime sludge issue. Problem solved, for now.
Childers presented the council with a contract proposal after a Public Works Committee meeting that was attended by most of the council to hear presentations for a major upgrade to the city’s South Wastewater Treatment Plant.
City Wastewater Superintendent C.E. Goodall told the council that Nutri-Ject Systems of Hudson, Iowa wants to begin work soon.
The company gave the city three proposals for removing the liquid lime sludge that is in the south lagoon. City Council members at a meeting last month approved spending $30,000 of an emergency fund for removal.
The company proposed removing half of the liquid lime sludge for the approved amount. The company also proposed removing all of the liquid lime sludge for $57,500 for payment now, or $27,500 plus about $2,000 in interest due Oct. 3, 2009.
Goodall suggested the council seriously consider the full removal option.
“I understand the concerns with the money, but we’re not going to get a better option to deal with the problem,” Goodall said.
The city will decide if they want to remove all of the lime sludge at next weeks regular council meeting.
Councilwoman Melissa Miller asked Childers if the city did decide to remove all of the sludge, how much time would it buy the city before they are back to square one? Childers told Miller and other council members that it doesn’t buy them any time. He said the issue needs to be addressed on a regular basis and not become a problem.
“You don’t want to be in this situation again,” Childers said. “The way you stay out of it is to do it a little bit at a time.”
Childers told council members they will see lime sludge removal in the budget next October. He said dedicating some money to the problem every year would solve the issue.
The city had budgeted $30,000 for sludge removal this year, but took it out of the budget after the council voted down a proposal to raise water rates.
Childers also reported that he had spent several hours on the phone with Missouri Department of Natural Resources officials the past week and have made progress towards finding a solution for the city’s North lagoon that is almost completely solid lime sludge.
“We’re getting a lot further along in finding people that can find answers,” Childers said.
He indicated that after speaking with some DNR officials, there may be a possibility of finding permits that would allow for land application of the solid lime sludge.
Councilman Scott Spiers said he found a phone number on the phone book for another person who would accept lime sludge. Goodall took the man’s information from Spiers and said the city has about six to eight people who want the sludge.
The city heard proposals from three engineering firms on their plans for an upgrade to the South Wastewater Treatment plant. Initial plans have the price tag anywhere from $4 to $6 million.

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