The city of Sedalia will reap a tremendous amount of savings following the detection of invalid water hardness data and the adjustment of those numbers. Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross talk to City Administrator Gary Edwards:
Edwards explaied it was a process of reevaluating information provided, in part, by the Department of Natural Resources. “The savings is because of work that was done by Alliance, Olson, and city staff as far as the sewer limits that are required by the state,” said Edwards,” After research was done, we found that there will be significant savings to the city. There isn’t as much infrastructure work as we thought might be needed.”
According to Edwards, the new information will also be helpful to area business owners. “The second area of savings is to the manufacturing industry,”said Edwards,” Less adjustments will be needed on their part. Consequently, this will produce savings for them and that means more jobs or certainly the retention of jobs. This also opens the door for industries who want to expand or want to come into the community.
Alliance Water Resources, who has managed the waste water system for the City of Sedalia since 2008, helped save the city and the local industries millions of dollars by first detecting invalid water hardness data as held by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and then conducting the appropriate studies to provide the information needed to accurately adjust those numbers.
Phil Webster, Alliance Water Resources manager of the Sedalia Water Pollution Control Department explains that water and wastewater standards are formulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and passed down through the states to be regulated by the DNR via the permit system. Anyone discharging wastewater has to comply with these standards, including the limits on how much metal can safely be in the water.
However, the hardness of the water directly affects how much metal can exist. As the hardness numbers increase, the toxicity of the metals decreases, therefore allowing more metal to be tolerated within the water system while remaining within a safe range.
Dick Tuttle, Vice President and Director of Operations for Alliance Water Resources, worked on the project with Webster and explains that the previous hardness numbers for Sedalia’s water system as held by the DNR were default numbers that had never been tested and were, in fact, low compared to the actual numbers, therefore indicating that the metals within the water were too high.
Alliance first did on-site hardness testing to detect the correct hardness. Webster and his staff then performed an ongoing hardness study over a year’s time and submitted their site specific data to the DNR for review. Based on their findings, it was determined that indeed the previous standards needed to be altered.
Webster says, “It wasn’t about trying to argue our way out of compliance. First and foremost, we want to maintain the highest water quality possible for the communities we serve. But what we found were numbers that did not represent real world actualities – the data was bad.”
Mayor Elaine Horn speaks to the implications of the bad data. “We have a large industrial base,” says Mayor Horn. “Had we not gotten the limits changed, it would have meant a significant cost to those businesses, several hundreds of thousands to make improvements on their end. Thanks to the changes, they are able to continue investing in expansion and growth, and that is good for Sedalia.”
According to the Office of Public Works, those savings for the city ranged anywhere from $2.5 – 5 million in capital savings. In addition, the city will not have to increase rates to pay for the improvements, saving local residents from a 25 – 50% increase.
City Manager Gary Edwards says, “Because of the raised limits, there is the very real possibility that numerous manufacturing jobs have been saved. This major accomplishment will also help with the ongoing effort to attract new industry to Sedalia. Saved jobs and new jobs translate into a strong local economy and higher sales tax revenue for a city. In turn, those revenues help a city provide municipal services. There are also significant savings for our citizens, as we will not have to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on additional infrastructure improvements. This not only eases pressure on the city budget, it also protects the residents’ pocketbooks.”
Mayor Horn said of the partnership between Alliance Water Resources and the City of Sedalia, “They are phenomenal to work with. We get a whole team, and they’ve made such a difference in our community. Phil Webster is committed and talented. The Alliance staff is part of our team and we all work together.”
For more information about Alliance Water Resources, please visit their website at www.alliancewater.com or contact Sandy Neal, Director of Marketing and Business Development, 206 South Keene Street, Columbia, MO 65201, (573) 874-8080, firstname.lastname@example.org.