By Shelby Stewart
Brandon Twp. The school board held a special meeting on Oct. 25 to discuss updates on the wastewater treatment plant.
The plant has been failing standards set by the Department of Environmental Quality, and recently there has been a system implemented that would help the school district to meet or exceed the standards.
Director of operations John Thompson and lead maintenance Mark Evans were present at the meeting to provide the board with an update on how the system is working and what they would like to do in the coming winter months.
“Right now the DEQ is very happy,” said Thompson. “Our goal is to have DEQ look at it and say okay by January.”
The school district had implemented the waste water system this year to improve water quality in the district prior to the deadline set forth by the DEQ for the replacement of the wastewater treatment plant. It has been failing to meet their standards and the district has until November of 2019 to replace it, at an estimated cost of $1.5 million.
If the maintenance works the cost would be about $200,000.
Funding for the new plant has been denied by voters in the past, which has delayed the replacement process. The new system for controlling the bacteria in the water was approved this year. They influent was redirected back into the sludge tank and dispersed the waste back into the water treatment plant. By using air diffusers on the influent, the bacterium that breaks down waste now works more effectively. This reduced the total inorganic nitrate levels.
In addition, they would like to cover the wastewater treatment plant with an insulated metal pole barn type structure with a translucent roof. The roof would work like a greenhouse to keep the room warm when it is cold outside.
In times when the school is vacant, dog food is added to the water as well to feed the bacteria in the water. There is also discussion about an immersion heater for the winter when the water temperature drops below 50 degrees, though it is uncertain if it will be needed.
By Shelby Stewart