City approves contract for wastewater treatmentImprovements to accommodate increased flows for JBS
WORTHINGTON — The city council Monday approved a professional services contract with Pharmer Engineering for the Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvement Project.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council Monday night approved a professional services contract with Pharmer Engineering for the Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvement Project.
“Time is important because we want to be able to accelerate their (JBS Swift and Co.) production and ensure an environmentally compliant plan,” said City Engineer Dwayne Haffield.
The council had earlier authorized studies by Pharmer on potential improvements needed to meet reduced total phosphorus limits at the Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility and at the Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facility, as well as to determine improvement needed to accommodate the discharge of increased flows from JBS.
“The time constraint is the plant is at its limit,” Haffield said. “They have to keep their production to an idealistic flow per hog, that’s sort of the sense of urgency.”
The study found the costs for improvements necessary to meet the decreased total phosphorous limit to be an estimated $3.93 million while the estimated cost for increase hydraulic capacity would be an estimated $3.14 million, not including the repair and replacement projects that would be included.
The council voted to move forward with the project, retaining Pharmer Engineering — of Boise, Idaho — for design services, with the stipulation that the contract could be terminated on two weeks notice.
“If we’re not happy with them and the service and we go somewhere else that’s not a very cash-effective use of funds,” commented Alderman Lyle Ten Haken, referring to the idea that much of the design information developed up until a termination point could not be retained by the city. The costs of the design phase would belong primarily to JBS.
Concerns were also raised about whether an increased capacity would fly in the face of conservation efforts.
“They (JBS) realize we don’t have an indefinite amount of water,” said Haffield. “They are looking at water recycling and reuse.”
In other business, the council Monday:
l Approved the Chamber of Commerce’s request to host a Tuesday night farmers market in the former Campbell’s Soup building parking lot.
l Adopted the proposed ordinance for the collection of the half-percent sales and use tax for the city of Worthington.
l Voted to give a first reading of a proposed ordinance to vacate a portion of the platted utility easement in Sungold Heights Mobile Home Park.
l Voted to apply for the Minnesota City Participation Program, which provides below market interest rate home mortgage loans for low to moderate income first-time home buyers purchasing homes within awarded communities.
l Voted to approve the 2009 Utility Department Strategic Financial Plans, including an amendment to the Electric Department budget that would increase the transfer rate to the city general fund from the current rate of $0.00275 to $0.003 per kilowatt hour used. The Water and Light Commission had voted in an earlier meeting to have the current transfer rate remain the same for 2009, but amended the budget after a meeting with city council officials.