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by Mark Cheffey
The Palmyra City Council last Thursday voted to move ahead with a plan to fix a major issue at the city’s sanitary sewer plant.
In addition, the council approved purchasing a new heating and air conditioning system for city hall, approved an ordinance change for the planning and zoning commission and okayed a resolution allowing the city to apply for engineering funding for expansion of the waste water treatment plant through the DNR.
Following the recommendation of the Board of Public Works as advised by Mark Bross, an engineer with Klingner & Associates, the council voted to spend an estimated $750,000 for a diffused aeration system to replace one of two rotor systems that recently failed.
The expenditure is contingent on the city being able to pay for it through an existing line of credit.
“This is an emergency. We really need this,” said Mayor Rusty Adrian in urging the council to take action.
One of two rotor aerators at Palmyra’s plant failed last month.
BPW Superintendent Brent Abell reported to the council afterward, that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources had been notified and that Palmyra would receive a grace period to replace the failed system.
However, as it was noted Thursday if a second 40-year-old rotor system still working at the plant happened to fail before the other is replaced, the sewer plant would be off line until emergency repairs could be made.
Bross spelled out three options for the BPW and the council to consider, including two that were considerably cheaper.
However, Bross told the council the diffused aeration system was the one recommended for the already ongoing plans to expand the treatment plant and was the only one of the three to meet future EPA regulations.
By going with a cheaper system now, Bross said, it would have to be replaced anyway, so the more sensible solution would be to go with the more expensive system.
“We’d basically be throwing that money away anyway,” said council member, Brock Fahy, the council’s BPW liaison.
Urgency was also recommended considering the system being purchased could take from 18 to 20 weeks to be delivered.
Bross said it would be best to be able to purchase the system as soon as possible, and then seek bids from firms to install it.
He also noted the sewage treatment facility expansion plans call for the installation of two diffused aeration systems, so the city would already be ahead on that project by going with the one now.
City attorney James Lemon expressed some concern about the funding timeline for the project. As a result the purchase was approved pending funding approval.
In a related issue, the council voted 5-0 in favor of a resolution allowing the city to seek $22,500 in DNR funding to pay for engineering of the sewage treatment facility expansion project.
In updating the council on the project, Bross said it will cost an estimated $8 million and could be funded half-and-half through money and a special loan through the state.
He indicated the city could be seeking a revenue bond issue in April of next year to help pay for the project.
Expansion is a high priority considering the existing plant is working at 90 percent capacity.
The council voted 5-0 for final approval of an ordinance giving the city planning and zoning commission power to have merit review of some construction projects in the city to “avoid undue burdens upon the neighborhood.
The council accepted the lowest of three bids submitted for a new heating and air conditioning system for city hall.
The city will purchase one from Master Air for $24,753. It is expected to be delivered sometime next year.
The council also voted 5-0 in allowing the street department to move ahead on the small Sloan Street storm sewer project with the purchase of $4,745 in needed materials.