Hardin sewer lagoons flirt with EPA fines

By Shawn Roney/For The Richmond News

Hardin should start cleaning its sewer lagoons fast – or face some serious financial consequences.

That was the advice Mark Hannah, an agent with Stream Lake and Wetland Solutions, gave the Hardin Board of Aldermen during its meeting Tuesday night at Hardin City Hall. Invited by John Gilifillan, the city’s public works director, the representative of the Louisburg, Kan.-based company told the board that the city could receive stiff fines from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if the lagoons aren’t EPA-compliant.

In reporting the findings of his research into Hardin’s lagoon system to the board, Hannah estimated that one lagoon is “about 75 percent full – if not more” of sediment. He also supported an assessment by Gilifillan that the sediment levels in the system were near the maximum levels the EPA would allow.

Hannah suggested that the cleanup be done “over a three- or four-year period” to get the waste processing of the system back to 100 percent efficiency. He also suggested that the city could make the cleanup “an annual maintenance item,” rather than pursuing it as a capital improvements project. But regardless of the business approach Hardin uses to get the lagoons cleaned, “we need to do something pretty quickly,” he cautioned.

To stress the importance of addressing the situation, Hannah mentioned a small town in Washington that recently was penalized with $134,000 in fines from the EPA for sewage output violations.


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