The City of Soldotna is moving forward in an effort to renew its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for its wastewater treatment facility.
During its Wednesday meeting, the Soldotna City Council enacted an ordinance that allows a $60,000 increase to the Utility Fund and Utility System Capital Improvements Fund to pay for a consultant who will help the city address the permit renewal. It also approved a resolution allowing the city manager to enter a $60,000 agreement with HDR Alaska Inc., a company specializing in engineering, architecture and other services, to consult on the permit process.
Soldotna has been using a temporary permit since its last one expired in 2005, said City Manager Mark Dixson.
Under the previous permit, the city “operated with a mixing zone at the end of the pipe that discharges into the river,” according to a memo from Utility Department Manager Rick Wood. Under the new permit, the city will not have the mixing zone and all rules set out in the permit will have to be followed, he wrote, including limits on the levels of copper and zinc being discharged.
The city is looking for clarification on potential copper and zinc limits set by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, which the consultant will be tasked with helping with. Dixson said HDR was chosen because of its previous history in consulting for Soldotna.
“I tend to relate this to a litigation matter where you have an attorney assisting you through the process and now you’re going to trial,” Dixson said during the meeting “It makes only sense to hire the attorney that you’ve been working with rather than going out and trying to find somebody else.”
— Megan Pacer