Red Peace bridge over the Bow River, Calgary
By Bob Balgemann
BELVIDERE – City officials believe a time will come when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) orders a reduction in the amount of phosphorous within sewage treatment plants.
Given that eventuality, Belvidere has ordered the preparation of two related plans through the engineering firm of Baxter and Woodman, Inc., at a total cost of $96,000. It will take up to 24 months to complete those plans.
“We knew this was coming down the pike,” Public Works Director Brent Anderson told the committee of the whole at its March 14 meeting.
He explained the city’s treatment plant currently operates under a permit issued by the EPA. Treated effluent is discharged into the Kishwaukee River. That permit was just renewed for another five years and includes the following requirements:
1. Preparation of a phosphorous feasibility study and optimization plan. The cost would be $70,000.
2. Completion of a capacity, management, operations and maintenance plan. This cost would be $26,000.
Phosphorous is a chemical element and the majority of phosphorous-containing compounds are produced for use as fertilizer. Information obtained online states controlling phosphorous discharge from sewer plants is important in preventing the eutrophication, or aging, of surface waters such as streams and rivers.
Anderson said currently there is no limit on how much phosphorous may be in treated effluent. However, he added that the EPA now wants this city and others to look at the possibility of reducing it by specific amounts.
“We’re looking at a 75 percent reduction,” he said of the levels currently in the treated effluent at the Belvidere plant.
“We will look at what needs to be done for each level of reduction,” he said.
Ordering the plans was approved during the March 22 city council meeting.
Well work, branch pickup
Also that night, aldermen approved emergency repairs to Well No. 7, which stopped working on Feb. 28, at a total cost of $168,070. Work to be done by Great Lakes Water Resources includes purchasing a new stainless steel motor and pump assembly for $57,775.
“We’ve had issues with this pump in the recent past,” Anderson said, referring to problems experienced in 2011 and again in 2013.
In addition, the annual spring collection of branches was set for the entire month of April.
The city once again will be divided into quarters, with work beginning the week of April 4 on the southeast side of town. It will continue April 11 on the northeast side, April 18 on the northwest side and conclude April 25 on the southwest side.
Residents are asked to have all branches placed in the area between the sidewalk and street by 7 p.m. Monday, starting with April 4 on the southeast side of town. City workers only will make one pass down each street for pickup.
Those with multiple branches are asked to place the butt ends together and lay the branches parallel to the street.
Residents are asked not to leave branches larger than 10 inches in diameter, or branch piles larger than four feet high by four feet wide by 24-feet long.
Also do not leave any root balls.
And do not leave branches less than 24 inches long or any branches with wire, plastic or nails attached.

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