The City of Soldotna’s wastewater discharge permit has been administratively extended for over a dozen years now, but it is close to being renewed, formally.
Kyle Kornelis, the city’s public works director, explained at last week’s council meeting why the city needs to appropriate another $128,000.
“At the conclusion of the project next spring we will have amassed data and information on our effluent and the receiving waters in order to present a final paper to the regulatory agencies,” Kornelis said. “At which point we hope to negotiate a final permit or continued discharge from the treatment plant.”
Though the city has been getting by on administrative extensions for its wastewater discharge, Kornelis said the city has been in close contact with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
“We did do a one-year review with ADEC and got their concurrence and endorsement to continue on the program that we've established in coordination with them. So the trajectory is positive. And we're seeing the results that we were expecting to see,” Kornelis said. “And thus we wish to continue with the project as, as it was implemented and as it was proposed. It is a unique project and we are facing both for the delivery and the efforts as well as the funding, which is why there's been several phases of funding, based on regulatory approval and data results.”
Kornelis said the city’s wastewater treatment plant has long been recognized by the state for its efficiency.
“Our water treatment plant operates so efficiently that it is not even on the radar of the regulatory agencies. And every time I meet with DEC, it's a low priority for them,” he said. “The Soldotna wastewater treatment plant does a phenomenal job in all our tests, you know, we don't just meet them, we exceed them by far, and we're proud of that.”
The city council voted 5-0 in favor of appropriating the $128,000 needed for continuation of the water quality sampling. As Kornelis said, results are expected next year.