Hard winter creates higher nutrient counts

WELLSBORO – The brutal cold this past winter did more than slow the advent of spring, it also created a prime situation for the growth of nutrients from the borough’s sewage treatment plant.

Borough Manager Dan Strausser told the municipal authority Tuesday that nitrogen levels have risen by 7,000 parts per liter since last month up to 27,000 and if the count gets to 47,000 by the end of October the borough may have to purchase some credits.

The same holds true for phosphorus levels, which now stand at 2,600. The level not to exceed is 4,700, Strausser said.

“We probably will end up buying some nutrients, due to cold weather this winter, because right now we are well above where we were last year,” he added.

In related business, Strausser reported that one of the borough’s water treatment slow sand filters may need to be cleaned soon, as it is “starting to show a decline at the head.”

The slow sand filters were supplemented last year with a Pall membrane filtration system, taking on much of the work the old filters were handling.

“The slow sand filters are only handling about 40 percent of the water right now,” Strausser said.

The borough has received its permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“In a month after the review of it is done, we will announce our sewer plant permit for new plant equipment,” he said.

The state is requiring more testing of the creek to see if minnows can live in it, and it must be done every quarter now instead of twice a year, Strausser said.

In other business, Strausser noted that the replacement Grant Street water lines are “three quarters done.

“By the end of next week, the work should be completed, then we will do seeding and patching of asphalt, and then can shut the old line off and see what happens,” he said.

The borough’s water line system mapping project will be starting up shortly, he announced.

“Last month because of winter we didn’t get started and we have been a little busy with pot holes lately.”

The surveys the borough is doing to find out where storm water is getting into the sewer system is underway, with “between 300-400 done.”

“The biggest problem is downspouts in sewer system. There are some rather large buildings tied in,” Strausser said.

The authority also accepted a timber bid from Wheeler Lumber Co. for $47,782. A lower bid from Wagner Hardwood was not accepted.