Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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March 8, 2013

Town meeting scheduled in Pleasantville

DNR requirements may cost residents, businesses

Pleasantville — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, under the direction of the Environmental Protection Agency, has implemented new regulations regarding pollutants coming into nearby waterways from the City of Pleasantville's wastewater treatment facility. Sewer bills will likely increase, and a town hall meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12, at 6 p.m. at the Memorial Hall to discuss the plan. 

Pleasantville City Manager Joe Mrstik, Rep. Greg Heartsill and members of Pleasantville's Public Works staff met with DNR Water Quality Chief Shelli Grapp and DNR Permitting Specialist Eric Wiklund this morning at City Hall. The City wanted to share data it has collected, regarding pollutants. 

New permit limitations have drastically reduced the amount of pollutants that can be released. The waterway the DNR is concerned about is Coal Creek, which serves as habitat for fish. Limits for ammonia, for instance, under the previous permit were at 19 miligrams per liter in January. The new permit has dropped that to 5.2.

Pleasantville has already worked to address sewer issues, and made a $2 million investment to reline pipes in the City. Since doing this, the ammonia rate was below 1 from October through December, and as of February, had only reached 4.3. 

Improvements being sought by the DNR would cost approximately $4 million. 

"It's a substantial amount of money for the city," Mrstik said. "The data we have now? We're still meeting the limit." 

Wiklund said, despite five months of data indicating that Pleasantville can meet the requirements without further investment, that the DNR is requiring a new system because lagoons are not expected to meet the permit guidelines.

"For the ammonia, it's really unlikely," Wiklund said. "We're not opposed to any additional monitoring you want to do." 

"We'd be happy to have your numbers be the first one that did (meet requirements without the additional investment)," Grapp said. 

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