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IDNR: Estherville awaiting answer

By Staff | Feb 5, 2008

The City of Estherville has been left hanging by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources … and technically faces violations every month in regard to TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) limitations established for the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Estherville City Administrator Steve Woodley shared a copy of a letter he sent to IDNR with members of the Estherville City Council Monday at the regular meeting.

Dated Jan. 24, 2008 and directed to Courtney Cswercko of the IDNR Wastewater Permit Section, Woodley reminded in the letter that no authorization has been received on the city’s notice of appeal dated April 5, 2007.

A meeting was held in Des Moines on May 16, 2007 to discuss the matter. Attending were city representatives, the city’s engineer and IDNR staff.

In the letter Woodley stated, “It was discussed at that meeting (May 16, 2007) that the city was required to perform a repeat chronic WET test on the plant effluent prior to Oct. 7, 2007, and submit the results to IDNR. The original chronic WET test referred to in a letter from IDNR dated Aug. 10, 2006, was flawed due to samples not being delivered to the testing laboratory within the allowable time constraints because of a UPS error. This repeat WET test was conducted on Sept. 18, 2007, and results submitted to IDNR in October 2007.”

In the interim, the city has initiated chloride sample tests in the effluent.

On the city’s behalf, Woodley wrote, “The city feels that these chloride levels are consistent and considerably lower than the flawed data the IDNR has from the two statewide sampling periods in 2005.”

He prompted IDNR to share its thoughts on the city’s latest chronic WET tests and asked for consideration of a permit modification to allow for a higher TDS limit.

The letter included, “Also at the May 2007 meeting, the IDNR indicated they would look into flow variable limits for TDS, however, to this date we have not heard back from IDNR on this issue. We prefer a flow variable limit.”

Woodley concluded his correspondence by informing IDNR it is Estherville’s wish to work in a cooperative fashion with IDNR to come up with a solution to the TDS issues which are acceptable to both parties.

“In the interim, we respectfully request that the 1,068 mg/l TDS limit be waived or suspended until this issue is resolved or the city can complete a river study.”

In other business, council:

n Appointed Bob Jensen as the third city representative to the Regional Wellness Center Board. Jensen is a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board.

n OK’d an awning/sign permit application submitted by Avera Home Medical for property located at 602 Central Ave.

n Approved a Class C Beer Permit with a Carryout Wine Privilege for the Fareway Store.

n Received the yearly building permit comparison report.

n Voted to have the next City Council meet on Monday, Feb. 18 (Presidents Day) at 5 p.m.