After months of discussion, the City of Fountain has selected a new engineer. At the April 5 meeting, the council unanimously approved hiring Bolton & Menk.
The firm’s work agreement will be on a per-project basis. They included a fixed fee if the city wanted an assessment of its wastewater treatment plant. The council cited the firm’s experience and recommendations from current wastewater consultant Mike Morris of MMS Environmental. Morris attended the meeting by phone to discuss the current operation of the plant.
The city recently replaced the sand filter at the plant, which was non-operational for an extended length of time. Morris stated that the plant’s numbers have been within limits since last May. Having made adjustments to keep the plant compliant while the sand filter wasn’t online, Morris saw no reason that numbers would only improve during the peak, wet seasons.
“The CBOD [Carbonaceous Biochemical Oxygen Demand] going into the gravel filter is a three and coming out is a 0.6. It’s working how it should,” said Morris. “John has proven that it could almost be operational without it, but it’s part of your system. When there are highs, it will keep you under the limit.”
Public Works Director John Hanson is handling the daily maintenance of the plant. There are no records from the time of the plant installation in 2009. Hanson is taking notes and reviewing the mechanical parts daily.
Some “kick out” issues may be a component or loose connection from not being used. The city will know the results from samples pulled on April 5 within a week or two.
“It’s not going to be a large expense,” continued Morris. “It’s minor for this not being operational for… I don’t even know when it was last used. The main point is it’s working well, and the system is working the best it has since I’ve been there. John’s doing a great job.”
With the new engineer’s hiring, Morris wants to review the hauling out of biosolids. He claims that with a city of Fountain’s size, it’s happening too frequently. He also alerted the city that it should plan to begin budgeting for a new lift station pump in the next few years. There are two, and there is no backup. It’s unclear if they’ve ever had components replaced or if they’re original. The typical lifespan of a pump is 10-15 years, and these are pushing 14 years. While the city could rebuild the motor, Morris suggested the better route was replacing them altogether. He estimated the city should budget at least $30,000 for the pumps on the low end.
“They’re expensive. Get a quote, but that’s a number to shoot for,” said Morris. “Don’t panic; they’re working and working well. We’re just planning for the future.”
“We better look at $60,000 – doubling it,” encouraged Councilor David Gudmundson.
The council approved purchasing a handheld GPS device, up to $1000, for Public Works. The intention is to accurately locate all septic tanks and curb stops to make accurate city maps for the department.
The council tabled a discussion regarding a Harmony Telephone building site downtown. The company has proposed a 50 by 50-foot building site where they’d like to put a ten by 20-foot building. There would be no sewer and water service, but the company would like to lease the site for 50 years.
Mayor Tammy Danielson noted an existing precedent of leasing to others. Still, the city would need to determine whether a monthly or yearly lease and what compensation they’d want for it.
While noting the benefit of having another internet provider in the area, the council preferred to dig into what other cities have in this situation. The council will bring the issue back for discussion next month.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, May 3, at 7 p.m. at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.