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— City council members voted July 10 to approve the issuance of $947,000 in water and sewer revenue bonds to finance design and construction corrections to the new wastewater treatment plant.

The additional financing for the wastewater treatment plant, which went online last month, is necessary because a crack in the rock was allowing water from a nearby creek to leak into the pit dug for the new plant.

Engineers solved the issue by raising the plant from completely below ground to partially above, but the changes in plans cost the city an additional $947,000.

The ordinance passed 5- 0 after a short public hearing, which was unattended. Alderman James Jessen was not present to provide the sixth vote.

City utilities manager James Boston reported the new plant has been up and running for about seven weeks. He said Crossland Construction should have all the Ãodds and ends wrapped upî and complete their work on the plant in the next 30 days.

Boston said he had two insurance quotes on the plant, one from Grand Insurance for $21,097 per year and another from Farmers Insurance for $8,403 per year. Boston said the two policies seemed comparable with $3.5 million in coverage for the plant, including coverage for wind and electrical damage.

ÃI want to make sure weÃ-re comparing apples to apples,î he told the council.

Mayor Bill Montgomery asked Boston to get a quote from the Arkansas Municipal League as well, explaining that the City of DecaturÃ-s buildings and vehicles are insured with the Municipal League.

Boston also reported that the wastewater department is still having to add a considerable amount of alum to the sewage to remove the phosphorus. Project engineer Johnny Quinn said the design for the new plant was chosen for itÃ-s ability to remove phosphorus from the wastewater biologically.

ÃThatÃ-s where weÃ-re headed, but weÃ-re not there,î he said.

The plant manufacturer has told city officials that it will take more time for the micro-organisms to build up to the optimum level to remove phosphorus, Quinn explained.

Quinn said the plant has three separate treatment tanks, and he plans to discontinue adding alum to one tank to see if the plant can reduce the phosphorus biologically.

Quinn said the plant will always have to use some alum, but he would like to minimize the

use of the chemical because it is expensive and it creates sludge which then has to be removed, creating another expense.

In other business, Montgomery said the Decatur Police Department has sold 122 dog tags so far. He asked all community members who havenÃ-t registered their dogs to do so as soon as possible.

Montgomery said the police department picked up 16 dogs in July, and the cityÃ-s dog pound was filled to capacity on two different occasions.

News, Pages 1, 2 on 08/19/2009

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