Wednesday, April 02, 2008

TOP STORY > > Sherwood says sewer violations fixed

Leader staff writer

In a recent draft order, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality says Sherwood has too much nitrogen and fecal matter in its treated wastewater and has proposed to fine the city $17,400.

But Mayor Virginia Hillman is upset with the release of the draft, suggesting that it was made public to sway Gravel Ridge annexation votes. She says most of the violations have been corrected and that the city’s wastewater department recently changed management and that will help prevent repeat violations.

According to the order, the city’s system had 20 violations over the past four years of too much ammonia nitrogen in the water and 12 violations in the past two years for too much fecal coli form bacteria in the water.

According to the ADEQ the permitted amount of ammonia nitrogen allowed varies from 2.2 milligrams per liter to 8 milligrams per liter. On the testing days, the state agency found amounts up to 37.5 milligrams per liter.

Fecal coliform bacteria were found in amounts two to three times the amountthat is permitted.

The ADEQ report also said the city’s waste-sludge lagoon was not being properly operated and that the south levee of the lagoon had been breached.

The order listed numerous other problems with the sludge lagoon and said the lagoon was near capacity and in need of cleaning.

ADEQ also said a manhole overflowed at 1005 Silver Creek in January and spilled about 100,000 gallons of raw sewerage into Silver Creek over a two-and-a-half day period. According to the department, Sherwood was slow in cleaning up the spill and did not use proper equipment in the creek.

Doug Szenher, spokesman for the ADEQ said the order is a preliminary draft and aspects of the order may change before it is finalized.

The order, which needs to be signed by both city and state officials, fines Sherwood $17,400 and requires a comprehensive corrective action report turned into ADEQ. The city will have about 15 months to correct most of the problems found by ADEQ officials.

The order states that if Sherwood does not come into compliance, it could be fined up to $500 a day.