Mayor calls wastewater plant, city operations a Twilight Zone

The Department of Environmental Quality has asked for a time frame for installation of aeration equipment at the Eunice Wastewater Plant. The city responded that it will begin Nov. 13 and be finished by Oct. 30, 2009.

Mayor Bob Morris had last month sent DEQ a schedule without specific dates, a timeline requested as part of the city’s response to a DEQ cease-and-desist order.

Morris initially had indicated the work might be put off until the spring, but DEQ wanted definite dates.

Meanwhile, the mayor says he feels “as if I’ve entered the Twilight Zone” at the wastewater plant. In fact, he said he felt that way about city operations as a whole since taking office in January 2007

The latest example, he said, is getting new pumps running and discovering that plumbing exists to only one of two grit chambers which remove particles from sludge pit discharge before it is sent to oxidation ditches.

This past week, pumps installed earlier this year, replacing some which had not run for 10-15 years, the mayor said, were turned on.

That was done after a wet well, which is essentially a sludge pit about 40 feet in depth, was cleaned out, again for the first time in 10-15 years

The pumps were turned on after an instrument control panel was installed Tuesday.

That’s when it was discovered there is not a connection to one of the two grit chambers. Having two is considered a necessary redundancy.

Records indicate that in 2003 the city, responding to a DEQ edict, realized the small grit chamber was inoperative and was going to obtain the necessary equipment for its return to service.

Morris said he did not know what happened to that plan or whether it was actually implemented.

“All I know is it’s not there and neither is the pluming,” he said.

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