Problems continue at Miami wastewater plant

Thursday, November 11th 2004, 10:52 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) _ Water being released from the city's wastewater treatment plant fails to meet standards required under a 1999 consent order with state environmental regulators, officials say.

In order to meet the requirements of the order, the city must reduce levels of fecal coliform bacteria being discharged into the Neosho River.

``Sometimes fecal coliform is a little over the limit and sometimes it is quite a bit more over the limit,'' said Juli Matthews, Miami's assistant public utilities superintendent for pollution control.

Malfunctioning valves in four basins used to process raw sewage and a faulty ultraviolet light system designed to kill bacteria are thought to be the cause of the excessive fecal coliform bacteria discharge, Matthews said.

Valves were replaced in one basin Wednesday and should be replaced in the remaining basins by the end of December.

Engineers are also working to correct problems with the ultraviolet system. Matthews said she expects the plant to be in compliance with fecal coliform bacteria limits within 60 to 90 days, but that regulators will want to continue testing until the end of the year.

The city was to have come into full compliance with the 1999 order by the end of this year and has made substantial progress, closing a sewage treatment facility on Tar Creek that did not meet capacity requirements and constructing the recently completed Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant at a cost of almost $9 million.

That has led Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality regulators to inform city officials they plan to close out the 1999 order and issue a new order demanding only reductions to coliform bacteria discharge levels by the end of 2005.