Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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March 13, 2013

Pleasantville council discusses projects

Pleasantville — Approximately 50 Pleasantville residents attended a town hall meeting Tuesday night, a meeting in which they learned their sewer rates could potentially increase by 13 percent annually over the next five years. 

As previously reported, 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. The City, working with engineering firm Snyder and Associates, estimates that the cost to make desired improvements could cost $3.75 million. To pay for that, the City Council has examined options. Council members believe a gradual increase in sewer rates - proposed at 13 percent each year for the next five - would be the best option. 

The DNR is demanding the improvements be completed by 2017. Jason Hartoff, with Snyder, said that there is no guarantee that, after Pleasantville makes facility improvements, that more will not be needed at that time.

"There is a guarantee for this next permit for the next five years," Hartoff said. 

Prior to Tuesday night's meeting, 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. 

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