By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Proposed upgrades to the village’s wastewater treatment plant will satisfy more stringent environmental standards for the management of leachate — and in particular, the leachate from Republic Services’ Carbon Limestone Landfill.
About a year ago, ammonia levels of the landfill’s leachate “went up significantly,” inhibiting the plant’s ability to properly treat and discharge the liquid, said Rich DeLuca, a technical consultant for the village.
This problem with the leachate was the first at the plant in more than 20 years, since the village’s partnering with Republic Services, but isn’t all that unusual, DeLuca added.
Over time, as a landfill ages, the leachate — which forms when precipitation falls on waste materials and picks up contaminants on the way down to the bottom, where it remains in a holding tank until it is treated — ages as well.
“The leachate is never going to go back. We have to make these changes to our plant to treat it,” DeLuca said.
“It’s a natural thing that will happen over a period of time as garbage deteriorates.”
Among those changes required by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to treat the stronger leachate is the construction of two new buildings: one to house the plant’s new bar screen system, the other to house its new alkalinity system.
Both of the new systems will be automated, which eliminates workers having to manually clean debris-filled screens, or having to manually add products to raise the alkalinity of incoming wastewater for easier treatment.
“With these automated systems, it will be a lot more efficient and economical,” DeLuca said.
He added that these upgrades must be completed within 180 days from the January issuance of the OEPA permit for the plant, and that the village is now preparing the project for bid.
It likely will be submitted in just a few weeks, allowing the upgrades to be finished in time.
Mayor James Iudiciani Sr. said he estimates that the upgrades will cost between $550,000 and $600,000.
The village will pay for a portion of this project, including the preparation of bid documents, and will apply for a low-interest loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority to offset this cost.
Republic Services — whose existing contract may change during upcoming renegotiations — will also finance some of the upgrades, as its leachate caused the issues that mandated them in the first place, Iudiciani said.
He indicated that the waste-service company provides for 58 percent of the plant’s operating and maintenance costs, and contributes $7,500 each month toward the leachate’s ammonia treatment.
In addition, the company pays Lowellville $12,000 per year, which is split between the village’s police and fire funds.
Another stipulation of the OEPA permit, Iudiciani added, is that the village conduct an infiltration study to identify where storm water is entering the sewage system.
Once the source is identified, the village will be required to address the problem.
He estimated the cost for the study and construction project at about $400,000, and noted that the village is seeking grants and a low-interest loan from the OWDA.
Both must be completed within 180 days of the permit’s January issuance, as well.