By Patrick McCreless
HANCEVILLE — Despite a significant decrease in rainfall from previous months, February marked the third consecutive month of state regulation non-compliance for the Hanceville Wastewater Treatment Plant.
ClearWater Solutions, the private company that operates the treatment plant, reported that 5.35 inches of rain fell last month during the Hanceville Water and Sewer Board’s regular meeting Tuesday. The rain caused a total flow of 16.7 million gallons for an average daily flow of .6 million gallons during February.
The facility’s design capacity is 570,000 gallons a day.
“It really wasn’t that bad as we experienced before,” said Greg Ryland, vice-president of ClearWater Solutions. “It was only about 20,000 gallons above the monthly average.”
Approximately 10 inches of rain fell during the month of January, which created an average monthly flow of 28.45 million gallons and an average daily flow of 1 million gallons of water through the treatment plant. Nearly 12.5 inches of rain fell in December, which created an average monthly flow of 33.84 million gallons and an average daily flow of 1.092 million gallons of water.
Ryland said all the above average flows were caused by water infiltration into the city’s sewer system.
February’s above average flows resulted in non-compliance with the state’s regulations for weekly discharges in total suspended solids as well as the weekly and monthly discharges of ammonia and nitrogen.
Ryland said ClearWater was investigating why the nitrogen parameters were out of compliance.
“We should have that under control pretty soon,” Ryland said.
He said the other non-compliance issues would be stabilized as rainfall continues to lessen during the spring and summer months.
“Hopefully we won’t have much more rain so we can get back to daily flows,” Ryland said.
General Utilities Manager Chris Freeman said work on the city’s infiltration problem was under way.
“Next week we’re going to start smoking and videoing the whole system,” Freeman said. “Hopefully that will help us find some more of our problems. And hopefully the rain will slack off and we can get to work on these sewer lines.”
Before December, ClearWater had made some headway with the treatment plant, keeping it in compliance from September to November.
September was the first month in at least a year in which the treatment plant was compliant. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) has cited the treatment plant several times over the past year for multiple overflow violations into Mud Creek. ADEM fined the water and sewer board $25,700 in March due to the continued violations. In June, ADEM and several area citizens filed two separate lawsuits against the board because of the violations.
In other business the board:
‰ gave members Charles Wilson and Doug Batemon the authority to sign checks for the board.
‰ appointed Charles Wilson as vice-chairman.
‰ passed a resolution requesting the Hanceville City Council apply for a $400,000 grant for sewer line repair.
‰ Patrick McCreless can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.
By Patrick McCreless