The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Costs to city climb for its sewage sludge while providing area farmers with free fertilizer

In City Hall on April 27, 2009 at 12:02 am

The city’s nearly unending supply of sewage sludge keeps costing even as it keeps farmers in a steady supply of fertilizer with no expense to them.

The city’s travails with biosolid sludge, which is the byproduct left over after the waste water treatment process at the city’s huge Water Pollution Control plant, are just another result of the June 2008 flood.

The flood, among other things, damaged the WPC facility, which is located on Bertram Road SE near Highway 13. And among the flood damage at the plant was damage to the plant’s incinerator, which is used to burn the sludge left over after the treatment plant. With the incinerator out of commission, the city has had to do something else with the sludge.

For a few months after the flood, the city was forced to transport the sludge to a private Illinois landfill at high cost because the local solid waste agency did not want to take up any of its limited landfill space with the sludge.

In recent years, periodically some of WPC plant’s sludge has gone to area farmers for fertilizer at times when the plant’s incinerator has been down for maintenance. But with the incinerator out of commission, a much larger amount of sludge has gone to more farmers to use on more fields. In fact, in recent months, the city has had to stockpile the sludge in certain places in the country until farmers could get back into fields to apply the material.

Last week, the City Council approved additional spending on sludge because the WPC’s incinerator has taken more time to repair than had been thought, Pat Ball, the city’s utilities director, reported in a memo to the City Council.

Last October, the council had authorized spending $800,000 from WPC revenues, which are paid by user fees, to hire contractor Wulfekuhle Injection and Pumping to haul and apply sludge to farm fields.

Last week, the council added another $800,000 to the contract.

Long term, the city council and the solid waste agency board still hold out hopes that one day the sludge might be burned, perhaps along with municipal garbage, to make energy from waste.

Advertisements
  1. How does this happen? All comments are screened for approperiateness. Commenting is a privilege, not a right. Good comments will be cherished, bad comments will be deleted. So I guess that’s how you can post your statement that very little complaints have been made!

  2. Did the memo state the reason for the delay?

  3. dg,
    It took longer than expected to make interim repairs to the plant’s incinerator, the city reports.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: