The Saratoga Water and Sewer Joint Powers Board (sewer board) met Wednesday for a longer than usual time to discuss potential improvements to the town’s sewage lagoon.
The improvements would be funded by monies provided by the state for the now-abandoned sewer outfall project. That project, which had previously been required to lower ammonia levels in Hot Slough Creek, was abandoned after data provided by the town showed ammonia levels in the creek were within range and had been for several years. However, the town still has access to funds provided by the state which must be used for improvements to the town’s sewer system.
The board hired Sunrise Engineering, a sewage consulting firm, to study the existing lagoon system and suggest improvements. The firm suggested numerous improvements, Jon Winter, department of public works director for the town of Saratoga, said.
The board spent most the meeting time discussing the improvements suggested by Sunrise. Some of the improvements included burying aeration lines, overhauling pumps because of their run times, increasing the size of the main from 10 inch to 12 inch or 15 inch installation of equipment that allows blowers to run at variable speeds to meet demands at the facility and a disinfection system.
The board and Winter discussed the merits of various suggestions and the long-term benefits and shortcoming that might be faced by the town after implementation.
The disinfection system was discussed thoroughly, with members of the board and Winter debating between the installation of a chlorine gas disinfection system or one that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to disinfect output.
The benefits of chlorine gas systems are cost and effectiveness, Winter said, saying a prime disadvantage of the system is the use of chlorine gas. Chlorine gas is a poisonous choking agent that is heavier than air and thus will stay close to the ground and travel with the wind in the event of a leak.
Winter said chlorine gas systems were used in other areas of the town’s water system, and the crews were well-versed in dealing with the systems and the gas.
Ultraviolet light systems sanitize discharge without poisonous gas, Winter said. A primary disadvantage is that warm water can reduce the efficacy of the UV lights by depositing a layer of slime over the lights.
Winter said he would submit the plans and a budget to the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB Board) who will review the project and decide whether to allocate the funds that were to be used for the outfall project into the treatment lagoon improvements.
The SLIB board originally earmarked $1,026,147 for the outfall project, and the lagoon improvements were estimated to cost $911,000, Winter said, leaving a margin of $115,000.
Winter said he would submit the budget along with a narrative explaining why the work was necessary and the benefits of doing it to the SLIB board who would meet April 6 to discuss the plan and possibly approve the funding.
The next meeting of the sewer board will be 6 p.m. April 12 at Saratoga Town Hall.