Monette Council discusses waste water issues

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wayne Menley, of Miller Newell Engineers, discussed solutions for Monette's waste water problems at the city council meeting Monday, Oct. 27.

Menley explained that city's total suspended solids in the drainage water is in violation. The city currently drains its filtered waste into ditch #3, which is small and has very little water flow.

"They (Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality) let us know and has given the city until Dec. 1 to come up with a plan. They could issue a Consent Administrative Order, which will come with a fine based on how important the violation is. Typically those fines can be negotiated. They are not going to issue a fine until the city has time to fix the problem and give them a plan of action."

Menley said the problem is that the life of a waste water plant is 30 years and Monette's plant is almost 38 years old. He also said the city's clarifier is overloaded.

Menley explained there are several solutions. The one he recommended and would be the easiest to do now is add a pumping station and change the point of drainage to a larger body of water. He said that would cost an estimated $100,000. He did say whatever the city considered it would need to keep in mind what could be used with a new waste water plant. Menley estimated adding a second clarifier, which could be used at a new plant, at $300,000, and a new waste water plant at $2.5 million. He said all those costs are rough estimates.

The council agreed that changing the point of drainage was the quickest option but asked Menley to get practical numbers for the cost of each option including a new waste water plant. They also asked Menley to look into funding and grant options for these projects. The council will discuss options and final plans at its next meeting.

Dana McKuin, of the Monette Water Department, was also on hand to discuss an issue with the dumpster behind Dr. Dennis Parten's office and Kenny Lomax's Monette Discount Drug. McKuin explained when St. Bernard's took over Dr. Parten's office it was discovered that both Lomax and Parten had been paying for the same dumpster. McKuin said Lomax does not use the dumpster but instead has a can his business uses. She said he has been charged for something he didn't use since 2003. Some council members felt that Lomax should have noticed the overcharge on his bill and said something sooner. Others felt he deserved a refund for the overage. After discussing the mater the council voted unanimously with Alderman Jason Stewart abstaining to issue Lomax a refund of $5,322.12.

The council also discussed and made a final decision on the Arkansas Highway Department's request for the city to assume maintenance of portions of Highway 18 and Highway 139 when the new Highway 18 bypass is complete. The council has been fighting the issue for over a year saying the city cannot afford the upkeep of that much road or the bridges.

After several exchanges and meetings with the Arkansas Highway Department council members felt like it was time to agree to take maintenance of the roads but under certain conditions. Alderman explained that traffic count determines funding for road projects and once the bypass is built, which they felt would be built regardless of their decision, the traffic count would be low enough that Monette would not get the needed funding to maintain the roads.

"They have held us hostage on this and kinda of forced us into this," Alderman Dick Pace said. "We don't agree with it but it is the best optionsfor the citizens of this city."

Alderman Stewart made a motion that the city accept the Arkansas Highway Department's proposal for the city to take on the bypassed portions of Highway 18 and 139 with a designed overlay based on analysis and studies of the city's current road conditions to meet future need. The council passed the motion unanimously.

In other business the council agreed to waive the city's mobile home ordinance to allow a retired gentlemen from Senath, Mo., to move his mobile home into the annexed area of Monette. The council was presented pictures of the mobile home and agreed it was in great shape. They also determined that the location the unit is being placed does not receive city services other than trash pick-up. Given all the information it was presented the council unanimously granted the waiver.

Mayor Chub Qualls said Monette Night Out at the Park was a huge success again this year and he thanked all those who donated as well as those who volunteered to help with the event. Mayor Qualls said some street paving had been started and should be finished soon. He also said the roof on the city park building that had been damaged by hail has been fixed as well the roof on the city's shop. The council also passed a millage resolution as required every year and voted to keep the city's millage the same.

Before adjourning council agreed to recognize at its November meeting two BIC High School students who as part of their EAST lab class have made a city website that features a list of all the city's businesses and upcoming events. Maddigan Carroll and Avery Uthoff will talk about their class project at the next council meeting.

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