Tuesday, February 22, 2011

PRESS RELEASE: Sewer Clean Up Continues for Jerome

The Jerome City Council held a Special Meeting on Friday afternoon of February the 18th to discuss the crisis at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). Due to the appearance of a foreign substance consisting of a calcium slime, the Treatment Plant’s membrane filtration system has been compromised since December 30th, 2010. With the failure of the filtration system, the WWTP is only able to separate and treat the solids portion of the in‐coming flows from the sewer system. Staff immediately began working with its membrane consulting firm Enviroquip to determine a workable chemical cleaning regimen, which did not produce results until the third attempt. The WWTP operators have been working long hours trying to clean the sticky substance from the membranes and were only able to bring the plant back on line in the last week.

At this time there are many more questions than answers and it has not yet been determined where this substance is coming from. Staff is investigating to determine the origin of the liquid calcium slime and has sent samples to the lab for testing. The Jerome City Council has directed staff to begin putting together proposals for systems that can be put in place to prevent uncontrolled overflows of only partially treated sewage into the Northside Canal system. A specific remedy for this incident will be dependent on the results of this investigation.

From the moment the WWTP failed and began overflowing the partially treated wastewater into the canal, the City has been working closely with the Canal Company, the Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency to inform them of the situation. The City Council and Staff share their frustration and regrets for this very unpleasant situation that is impacting the environment, the community and the county residents “down‐stream” in such an adverse way. The City is committed to doing everything possible to correct the problem and take measures to ensure that it does not happen again.

Contact City Administrator Ben Marchant with your questions, 324‐8189.

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