By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

Brookings City Council voted Monday to accept shipments of pumped sewage from Roto Rooter at its wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).

City Manager Janell Howard was authorized to execute an agreement with Roto Rooter “to accept septic tank contents for a three month trial period.”

According to the agreement, septic tank waste — septage — will be screened to remove inorganic matter and tested for pH before or during delivery to the WWTP. The septage may not interfere with normal operations at the plant or affect the plant’s 100 percent level of regulatory compliance.

Documents indicate the city could make more than $8,500 per month by importing Roto Rooter’s septage.

Councilor Ron Hedenskog asked what precautions could be taken to protect residents from increases in odor created by the influx of septage and was assured by Public Works and Developmental Services Director Tony Baron the flow would be stopped if localized odor increased.

Councilor Bill Hamilton wondered what could be done if the septage pushed the plant out of compliance or caused damage to equipment. Howard responded the agreement could be canceled at any time without cause if problems arose.

Jacobs Engineering Regional Manager Brian Helliwell said Jacobs was ready to work on the 90-day trial and noted changes would have to be reviewed and approved by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). He said the company ran four other plants accepting septage and had adapted those plants to successfully accept septage.

Jacobs Engineering runs the WWTP under contract for the city.

Howard noted the DEQ would have to approve of the plan before transfers could begin. The agreement calls for the process to be evaluated at the end of the trial period; the parties could then decide to enter a long-term agreement or cease activities.

Stipulations in the agreement include a maximum volume of 3,000 gallons per delivery, a limit of two deliveries per day and six deliveries per week and the use of a leak-proof hose with a steady flow. Leaks or spills are to be cleaned immediately and Roto Rooter is to bear all regulatory costs.

In other council news

The council approved the renewal of the 17th Annual Yard of the Month competition effective May 2019 and running for five months. The program recognized winners in both a residential and business category and rewards them with a certificate and a $50 rebate off of their water bill or business license renewal.

The council voted to appoint Umpqua Bank Manager Bonnie Jordan to the Budget Committee. In her application, she said she worked in banking, previously owned a small business and helped run two others and had been the treasurer for the local Rotary Club for five years.

The city proclaimed its support for the efforts of the 2020 Census and called upon the community to participate. It further resolved to call upon city officials, community leaders, representatives of faith-based and non-profit organizations, and representatives of historically undercounted populations to ensure residents of Brookings are properly and fully counted in the 2020 census.

The council voted to hold its next meeting May 28. The meeting was originally scheduled for May 27, Memorial Day.

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