Water treatment plants facing new regulations, Perryville planni - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Water treatment plants facing new regulations, Perryville planning ahead

Perryville still has several years before they'll have to upgrade to meet new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, but that could mean a whole new plant. Perryville still has several years before they'll have to upgrade to meet new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, but that could mean a whole new plant.
PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) -

It's an issue many city public works departments are talking about: what to do about possible new government regulations on wastewater treatment plants. Every city is different as far as what changes they'll have to make and when.

Perryville leaders say they're getting a head start on the new guidelines. Perryville still has several years before they'll have to upgrade to meet new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, but that could mean a whole new plant.

That's why, leaders say the first step is finding out where to start.

"[We have] a trickling filter plant, it's an older style technology,” Public Works Director Mark Brown said.

It's a 40 year old system.

"They don't build new trickling filter plants anymore,” Brown said.

Brown says it's time for an update.

"There's a lot better new technology that's being used,” Brown said.

Plus, Brown says more regulations from the EPA on certain chemicals will likely be more than the plant can handle.

"I don't guess we know for sure if the plant can be modified to treat the ammonia or if the benefit of ratio would even make sense,” Brown said.

That's why the city has ordered a study to figure out the next step.

"We need to determine does it make more sense to keep investing in this plant or to build a new plant,” City Administrator Brent Buerck said.

The study costs $170,000, but that's just a fraction of the cost of a new plant.

"A good estimate would be $15-25 million dollars," Buerck said.

Perryville isn't the only city talking about this issue. In Benton, Illinois, they're building a new plant. City leaders there say with more government regulations, the current plant probably couldn't get a new permit when it's up in two years.

In Paducah, the issue isn't as pressing. The public works director says since the water goes into a big water source, the Ohio River, the regulations aren't as strict.

In Perryville, though, they say after the results are in, they'll start moving forward in the right direction.

"The intent of the regulations is just to protect animals and wildlife and ourselves as well,” Brown said.

Buerck says improving the water system will help the city continue to grow.

“The strength of our local schools, St. Vincent's and Perryville, both of them doing well with testing, the strength of our local work force with very hard working, very strong work ethic, very low unemployment. All that coupled with modern infrastructure and the water and the sewer will set our city up for continued growth and success,” Buerck said.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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