The plan at Holley Navarre Water System to temporarily operate its damaged wastewater treatment plant at two-thirds capacity has been approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Further, on Dec. 26 the FDEP issued a revision in the water utility’s operating permit to allow replacement of a treatment tank, called a clarifier, that was damaged in a Sept. 24 accident.
“The clarifier had been emptied for inspection and repairs before it floated up and there was no wastewater in the tank at the time,” according to Brandy Smith, an FDEP spokeswoman, who answered a Navarre Press query last week.
Smith added, “The facility reported that they were able to divert flows and maintain capacity as needed, and the clarifier has been offline.”
That adjustment has satisfied environmental officials for now. The HNWS board recently approved a bid of $1.3 million from Northwest Florida Construction to replace the concrete tank, which had capacity of one million gallons.
“We had four clarifiers, two 500,000 gallon and two 1,000,000 gallon. We lost a 1,000,000-gallon clarifier,” Daryl Lynchard, a member of the eight person board and its former president, told the Navarre Press in an email last week.
Lynchard added, “We normally only treat 1.4 to 1.7 million gallons per day, so we are good as long as the others stay good.”
In November, the latest month for which final figures are available, the average amount of effluent treated was 1.658 million gallons a day.
Engineers at the plant on Pepper Drive have ordered new operating procedures in an effort to prevent another accident. The damage occurred when the tank was mistakenly drained during routine maintenance, causing it to move upward in the ground because of the lack of ballast.
Little margin for error
The FDEP has agreed to Holley Navarre’s plan to have the new clarifier in place and return the plant to its normal capacity of handling about three million gallons of treated effluent daily in the summer of 2019.
But there’s little margin for error. According to a letter from HNWS to the state environmental regulators on Oct. 5, the plant’s effluent handling capacity is two million gallons. So the loss of any of the three remaining tanks would probably mean the plant couldn’t operate as state permit allows.
The tank is a holding container in which solids are separated from wastewater.
Replacement of the tank and monitoring the remaining capacity at the plant add to the urgency to find additional offsite wastewater disposal spray fields. These issues will be priorities for the new volunteer utility board, half of whom will be chosen in an election Jan. 15.
Three of the board’s seats are for three-year terms, and one is for a one-year term. Because HNWS is member owned, the Board of Directors is elected by the members to represent their interests in the water system’s operations.
The candidates for office are incumbent Joe Aguirre, Joseph Genovese, Yvonne Harper, Jennifer Jones, Mike Kennedy, Kevin Lanier, incumbent Doug Larson and Fred Terasa.
As seen in the Jan. 10 issue of Navarre Press.
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