MoDNR finds wastewater treatment facility to be in non-compliance

By Linda Trest, Staff Writer
Posted 1/5/22

The City of Gerald was notified by a letter from the Missouri DNR that its wastewater treatment facility was out of compliance. 

The letter, dated Dec. 6, noted a follow-up inspection …

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MoDNR finds wastewater treatment facility to be in non-compliance

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The City of Gerald was notified by a letter from the Missouri DNR that its wastewater treatment facility was out of compliance. 

The letter, dated Dec. 6, noted a follow-up inspection regarding an environmental concern had been conducted Nov. 22. The original compliance inspection investigating the complaint had been conducted June 29 and June 30.  

Public Works Director Nick Grube told The Republican he believes the original complaint came from a citizen who noticed the treatment plant was overflowing into Cedar Fork Creek after a heavy rainfall. 

A letter of warning was issued after the initial inspection dated Aug. 11 and cited the facility “for exceedances of the permitted effluent limitations.”

When these “exceedances” or overflows occur they must be reported to MoDNR within 24 hours. 

Grube says the treatment plant operates using two large pumps to move the water from one holding pond to another. 

At the time of the overflow, one of the original pumps (installed in 2012) and a newer pump were operating the system. One pump burned out on a Friday and was replaced with a spare pump. On Monday, that pump along with the other one in operation had both burned out.

There were no spare pumps so Grube used smaller pumps to get the job done. 

The new pumps, which are normally received in two weeks or less, took six weeks to arrive. These new pumps cost $3,300 each. 

It was during this time the overflow was again discovered. Grube had failed to report the incident within 24 hours. He says he attempted to file an online report but could not get it to go through. 

The letter also stated that all deficiencies must be corrected and reported to MoDNR by Dec. 21. Grube said everything has been completed and filed, but there has been no response from MoDNR.

Grube also notes a compliance inspection of the treatment plant is done every three years and one was completed last August. 

In addition, a state operating permit was last issued Sept. 1, 2016 and expired Dec. 31, 2020 according to the letter. Grube says all documentation was sent to the agency to renew the permit but so far a new one has not been issued. 

Christopher Maher, environmental specialist for the St. Louis regional office of MoDNR, did the inspections of Gerald’s wastewater treatment facility. An attempt to contact him was not successful.

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