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Conservation board also wants more information on plant discharge plans – Also handles other seasonal business

By Staff | Dec 7, 2007

WALLINGFORD –The Emmet County Conservation Board weighed in on a proposed wastewater discharge site downstream from the county’s North Trail Head canoe/kayak access on the west fork of the Des Moines River at its monthly meeting on Thursday.

Superior Ethanol, the new plant being constructed on the western edge of the eastern Dickinson County city, has plans to run an eight-inch wastewater discharge pipeline from the plant east to the river.

The proposal has garnered attention from several Emmet County entities, including the city of Estherville and the Emmet County Water Trails Association.

Emmet County Conservation Board director Eric Anderson told his board the plan raises some concerns on his part.

“It is what it is,” he said Thursday. “It’s wastewater. I think it’s a bad, bad idea.”

His main concern is in the effect the wastewater, if any, will have on the west fork and what types of restrictions the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is placing on the plant.

“My biggest concern is what will it do in August when there’s no flow there,” Anderson said.

His opinion on the project is that it’s not a good idea, not only for the reasons he already stated but also because he wasn’t sure if the county wanted a discharge pipe where people could see it in the public-use area.

Anderson told board members they have an opportunity to make a recommendation about the proposal. According to the DNR, the public has until Jan. 14, 2008, to submit any objections about the project.

Board members were surprised they hadn’t heard anything about the plans prior to their meeting Thursday.

That fact definitely had influence in their decision.

The board agreed it didn’t know enough about the plan to make a recommendation on Thursday. Members also wondered why the company that will do the work gave them information on the proposal instead of the engineer who designed it.

The board also asked if the proposal could be changed to include a site for the discharge pipe farther to the south. Anderson said, according to information he received, if the proposed location was changed, the entire design would need to be renovated.

Board members asked if the issue should be table making a recommendation on the plan until more information was provided.

Board members agreed and approved a motion saying they will not make a recommendation on the project until they receive additional information.

Their decision is consistent with the other entities concerned with the project. All of them simply are seeking more information.

In other business, the conservation board:

n Decided to take written sealed bids for a 1996 Jeep Cherokee 4×4 the department currently uses. The Emmet County Sheriff’s Department has donated a new Jeep to the conservation board. Bids must be received at the Emmet County Nature Center no later than noon on Friday, Dec. 21. The high bid will be awarded after all bids are opened at that time.

n Approved hiring someone to do snow removal at the nature center at $70 per instance. A contract will be drawn up for the 2007-08 season.

n Heard Anita Fisher’s naturalist report.

n Discussed what to do with the remaining Terry Redlin prints as part of the Redlin Drive for the Emmet County Nature Center fundraising campaign.

The next meeting of the Emmet County Conservation Board will be Jan. 10, 2008, at the nature center.

Contact Nathan Christophel at (712) 362-2622 or editor@esthervilledailynews.com and visit our photo sharing Web site at cu.esthervilledailynews.com