UTILITY COMMITTEE MEETING—SEPTEMBER 30, 2009
The meeting was called to order at 1:10 pm by committee chairman Merlin Kettner.
Members present: Kettner, Everett Wendt; Tom Brauer was absent. Also present were water/wastewater operator Mike Kwiatkowski; village president Steve Rettler; village clerk Sharon Blake; village treasurer Martin Johnson; engineer Dale Marsh, Robert E. Lee & Associates, Inc.; and Debra Guzman, Mark Tollakson, Tom Pleshek and Brian Nielson, Saputo Cheese USA Inc.
Tollakson presented a list of issues he and the other Saputo representatives wish to address with the committee in the coming months, including the expired wastewater discharge agreement between the former Alto Dairy and Black Creek Utility. Tollakson indicated that Saputo is eager to rework the agreement within the framework of current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) rules and regulations and changes that have been made by both the dairy and the utility that have improved their respective plants and processes.
A discussion about some of those changes followed. Kwiatkowski explained that the DNR has not approached the utility about making changes to its design capacity. The utility was issued a new discharge permit this summer; the only change was made to ammonia limits, which fluctuate throughout the permit’s five-year term. Kwiatkowski also explained that the closing of the Liquality plant in early 2008 has given the utility some operational breathing room due to dropped loadings, especially in relation to BOD and flow. Tollakson added that some of the changes seen in the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) operations can be attributed to the dairy’s reassignment of various cheese lines between its Black Creek and Waupun plants, which changed the quality of the discharge being sent to the WWTP. He also noted that Saputo is very cognizant of the need to control its wastewater discharge and to that end has implemented new, efficient manufacturing processes.
Marsh shared a short list of upcoming utility projects. They include proposed sewer work that will be done in conjunction with the Department of Transportation (DOT) project on Hwy. 47 in 2010. This project would replace clay sewer lines that were installed in 1940 and 1941 and are in very poor condition. The utility has qualified for a low-interest Clean Water Fund loan for this project and recently began work on a rate study that will address the cost impact of this project as well as rates and charges included in the agreement with the dairy. The other project the utility is working on at this time is the installation of the blower donated by Saputo in early 2009. Marsh is working with Focus on Energy to determine if financial assistance is available to fund that project.
Tollakson inquired about the status of the plant capacity study. Marsh and Kwiatkowski explained that the study was abandoned because the DNR would have required a full facilities plan — at a cost of $20,000 to $40,000 — before it would take any action on the utility’s permit. Marsh explained that the critical question about capacity — whether or not the WWTP can handle the flow it receives — can be answered without a study. He noted that the plant operated over design capacity for years and is only now operating below design capacity because the dairy’s discharge has dropped. Together with Kwiatkowski, Marsh also explained that the capacity is unchanged because there have been no significant process changes.
Marsh will continue to work on the rate study and Kwiatkowski will be the primary contact with Saputo representatives. The Utility Committee will be kept up-to-date on the progress of the rate study and involved as required.
Motion: Wendt, Second: Kettner; to adjourn the meeting at 1:45 pm. Motion carried.
Teresa Riehl, Deputy Clerk