Downed pumps to blame for spill that caused fish kill, creek contamination
In August, the city’s wastewater treatment plant spilled sewage into a local creek after equipment malfunctioned resulting in a violation notice from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.
The city may face a fine because of the spillage but City Manager Tim Rooney reports the Mustang Improvement Authority will be reimbursed by HCCCo, a contractor hired to work on the plant at the time.
The amount of the fine was not available as of press time.
According to documents, the spillage occurred when two contractor pumps used to lift wastewater malfunctioned and lost suction, resulting in the wastewater to overflow at a manhole near a creek. The pumps were in use as a back-up because of construction by the contractor on the “influent headworks” at the plant.
On Aug. 5, DEQ was alerted of the spillage by a resident and immediately sent out a specialist to investigate. DEQ’s initial search found the creek to be “murky with an odor of sewage.” A significant number of distressed fish also were noted.
Project Manager Dennis Merrill of Severn Trent Services told the DEQ specialist parts to repair the pumps were expected to arrive that day. Three days later, a second DEQ specialist visited the spill site and noted a fish kill had occurred and the creek was still murky.
On Aug. 23, DEQ called Assistant City Manager Justin Battles about the violations, telling him that official notice would be sent to the city the next day. The violations were for 1) unlawful to cause pollution of any waters and 2) unlawful for a facility regulated by the state pollution act to discharge pollutant into waters without first obtaining a permit.
DEQ wrote in the violation letter that the city needed to correct the violations and had 15 days to respond, or if not, “escalated enforcement action” would be sought.
Rooney wrote in a Aug. 29 response letter to the DEQ, “The influent headworks constructions is now complete and the primary pumps in the headworks left station are back in service. At this time, the MIA has corrected the violation cited in the NOV and does not anticipate any further violations.”
A work in progress
The city’s MIA has been working for some time on improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. On Tuesday, council members heard from the city’s engineer, Cowan Group Engineering, on the progress of the ongoing project.
With some improvements already complete, Cowan Group reported more are still needed beyond the original two phase plan which saw phase 2B completed in November.
Now, proposed solutions in phase 2C include new grit removal pumps and piping modifications, expansion of the plant for increased capacity for to improved, additional treatment to meet new state discharge guidelines to the Canadian River.
Process improvements for phase 2D include two new clarifiers, basin modifications, blowers, flow splitter, yard piping, pump modification and upgrades, and chlorine disinfection
A reuse system and infrastructure is also proposed and will include disk filtration system, disinfection and transmission lines to irrigation location.
The project schedule for both phases include submitting an engineering report by Sept. 15, then in 2017, plans and specifications submitted by April 28, DEQ permit to construct by July 1, start construction Oct. 1 and to be complete by Oct. 1, 2018.
Construction costs are estimated to be $192,000 for phase 2C, $3.17 million for phase 2D and $700,000 for the reuse portion. This is a total of $4.062 million.