By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Every winter since Motley’s new wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) went online, the phosphorous levels have doubled. Up until February, numbers have been good, said maintenance supervisor Bruce Brotherton. But, since the end of February, the phosphorous levels again increased. At this time, it is unknown why.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) officials will be meeting with Brotherton, officials from both Morey’s Seafood International and Trident Seafoods, two industries in the city, and Mark Hallen, an engineer with Widseth Smith Nolting Thursday to ascertain what the problem is. The group will tour the wastewater treatment facility and both industries. The MPCA officials will review output from the industries, look at the facility’s filters and discuss penalties.
Councilman Pat O’Re-gan said that Hallen should meet with Brotherton for free since he designed the facility.
“We paid him to do the job and he should fix the problem for free,” O’Regan said.
Brotherton said he has tried everything he can think of to alleviate the problem.
“The components of the WWTF seem to be working well. It could be too much fat and/or soap from the industries in town that are causing the high reading,” Brotherton said. “The filters don’t seem to be removing what they should.”
The city of Motley has an agreement with both industries on the limits of phosphorous they send to the wastewater treatment facility.
After Hallen met with Brotherton Wednesday, he said that solid levels in the WWTF will be investigated and when Brotherton and he meet with the MPCA, they hope to get approval to use a coagulant during the winter months to better filter particles plus add a settling aid to help the filtering.
“All this will be discussed with the MPCA when we meet,” he said.
More information will be available during the May meeting.
Motley City Council briefs
Other business conducted by the Motley City Council Tuesday night included:
• Learning the Motley Music Fest is scheduled for one day, Saturday, July 26, at the fairgrounds. The Council voted to issue a beer license for the day along with a donation of $2,000 to offset costs;
• Setting Monday for a special meeting with the city’s attorneys, Gammello, Qualley, Pearson, to discuss bids for the water treatment facility;
• Viewing the $5,800 cost for two positive pressure fans and one rescue saw kit for the Motley Fire Department, items previously approved;
• Agreeing to send four firefighters to a first responder training session at a cost to the city of $253 each;
• Learning the Fire Department is applying for a $3,500 Department of Natural Resources grant to purchase hoses;
• Tabled a discussion concerning the city paying a portion of employees’ personal cellphones or buying cellphones for employees’ use to be owned by the city. The Council wanted to start with paying a portion ($25) of Maintenance Supervisor Bruce Brotherton’s personal phone and see how it went, but Police Chief Brian Madison said that it would not be fair to the other employees who used their personal cellphones for use while at work;
• Agreeing to advertise for a part-time (about 28 hours a week) employee for the maintenance department;
• Allowing Brotherton to attend training for chemical lab skills Tuesday, April 15, in St. Cloud at a cost of $125;
• Asking Brotherton to bring used snowplow prices to the Council so members are able to authorize a price to spend;
• Reminding residents the spring clean-up day in Motley is scheduled for Saturday, May 17, from 7:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.;
• Voting to approve a gambling raffle license for St. Michael’s Catholic Church to raise money for a youth trip; and
• Meeting Tom Justin, a lieutenant with the St. Cloud Police Department and a resident of Royalton, who will be on the November ballot for Morrison County Sheriff.
The next City Council meeting will be held at the Motley City Hall Tuesday, May 13, beginning at 6 p.m.