Village ordered to fix seeping sewage lagoons
Waste may be draining into groundwater.
Brady’s sewage lagoons may be leaking into the groundwater and it’s possible it’s been going on for a while.
Village trustees were surprised to receive a notice of violation from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality during their regular monthly meeting on Sept. 9.
That means NDEQ has mandated a compliance list and timeline for getting the lagoons fixed.
NDEQ representative Jeff Stittle told the board that when the lagoons southwest of Brady were inspected in 2005, his agency asked that the seals be tested for seepage.
When Stittle inspected the lagoons in July of this year, he said he found they are not holding water as they should.
“Lagoons cannot seep more than a quarter inch per day,” Stittle said. “Basically, your sewage is going into the groundwater.”
The village has from Oct. 15 to July 2010 to remedy the problem under voluntary compliance expectations, Stittle said.
If nothing is done, he said the Environmental Protection Agency becomes involved and fines or administrative orders may be handed down.
The village has two active cells, according to utilities superintendent Keith Wagnitz. Right now, only one is being used because the other is not functional.
Fixing one or both could be costly to the village, an expense trustees did not include in the 2009-10 budget
Reed Miller of Miller & Associates, the village engineering firm, outlined the expectations of NDEQ.
He said an engineering report following tests of the lagoon seepage is due by Oct. 15.
By Feb. 1, 2010, the village must submit plan specifications to the state for correcting the issues and the problem must be fixed by July.
“That’s a highly aggressive schedule,” Miller said. “It will be tough to get the money in place to do all this.”
Jackie Stumpff, representative of NDEQ’s wastewater advisory committee, told trustees she can’t change Brady’s low-priority grant ranking but because the village previously submitted a needs survey, it could be eligible for grant funding.
The problem, though, is getting money could take more time than the village has to spare, she said.
Miller couldn’t give the board any idea of cost to fix the lagoons.
“But I’m betting it’s not in your budget,” he said.
The trustees had just approved the village budget and tax asking minutes before receiving NDEQ’s news.
The board authorized Miller & Associates to begin the testing process on the lagoons and will consider the options at the Oct. 14 meeting.
In other business, the village board:
- learned work has begun on drainage issues at Matthewson and Commercial streets.
- approved the 2009-10 budget as presented with a tax asking of $62,115 and a levy at 47.4 cents per $100 valuation.
- approved leasing the west landfill ground to Don Knudsen for $15 per month. The landfill area is closed and has not been used as a dump for several years. Knudsen plans to raise a small number of calves and possibly pigs on the land. The lease is contingent upon verification of public use.
- approved renewal of the Hitchin’ Post’s Class C liquor license.
- adopted procedures for grievances in the village dealing with the Americans with Disabilities Act.