MINSTER – By unanimous vote, the Minster Village Council passed a resolution to enter into an expanded capacity agreement with Dannon North America that would allow the Minster-based yogurt giant to increase their daily wastewater output from 880,000 to 1.1 million gallons.
Before passing agreement, at council request, Dannon Plant Manager Joe Box and Plant Engineer Alan Milner gave a presentation to explain Dannon’s proposal and answer questions concerning the specific reasons for an increase, as well as potential odor problems. One neighbor, Todd Kitzmiller, also brought up the ongoing issues with increased noise since the completion of the distribution center last fall.
As to the need for a wastewater increase, Box said that the reasons for the increase were two-fold. Besides the goal of expanding Dannon’s production capacity, they were trying to come up with answers for wastewater elimination issues before they occurred.
For example, he said, “every inch of rain on the Dannon property results in 70,000 extra gallons of water flowing into the wastewater treatment plant.”
He said the planned installation of calamity tanks will help in an overflow situation, but such water backups threaten the wastewater cleaning process and increase chances for odor problems if overflow has to be trucked out of the facility.
Box continued, “Dannon has invested over $600 million in plant improvements in the last 10 years, with $200 million of that in the last 3 years.” He said a considerable portion of that funding was for odor remediation, “not because we have to do this, but because as good neighbors we feel it is an obligation (to reduce odor problems),”
In regards to the noise issues brought up by Kitzmiller, Box said he was not ready to answer those questions. Box said they had taken the neighbors concerns to authorities on noise reduction and that Dannon should be getting back to the neighbors very soon with suggested resolutions of noise problems.
As to the history of proposed wastewater increase, Dannon had proposed at the April 3 council meeting to pay up to $100,000 for the cost of engineering studies and up to $9,000,000 to expand the wastewater treatment plant should the company habitually exceed the planned 1.1 million gallon agreement. A copy of the proposed resolution was not presented to the public that night.
In other action, council also passed the first reading of an ordinance would require some village customers to install back-flow preventers to keep water from private cisterns and lawn watering systems from entering the public water system. Village Administrator Don Harrod said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency had required this action to protect water safety. He said their primary concerns were over about 50 cisterns in the village as well as lawn watering systems. Harrod said brochures will be sent to village residents soon describing the reasons for the project including potential water contamination issues. Thereafter village inspectors would go from house to house looking for potential backflow issues. If a backflow preventer is needed, cost to a homeowner is expected to be $100 to $200 for installation and $50 for annual inspections to ensure continued compliance. It was expected the project would be completed in five years, with one-fifth of the village properties inspected each year.
In the Administrator’s report, Harrod said that the Fifth Street project has concrete work almost done, with final grading street grading to begin soon. Street lights are planned for the project’s intersections. In regards to work at the industrial park property, water line installation is complete and installation of sewer line is about to begin. Curb and gutters are anticipated to be installed in the next couple of weeks. In other news, Harrod also said that over the weekend a water pipe at the intersection of Cleveland and Fifth developed a 3-inch hole necessitating crews replace a section of pipe. Finally, in regards to a number of street repairs due to water leaks, it was reported that Buehler Asphalt plans to begin paving various sections various areas in the community once the asphalt plants open.
In a Safety Committee report, Councilwoman Nicole Clune said there were 58 ambulance runs in the first quarter of the year.
Council also agreed to:
• Accept the March 2018 Income Tax report of $291,688.67. The quarterly report totaled $836,975.66.
• Allow the village maintenance department to purchase an F450 for slightly over $32,000, replacing an older vehicle. The truck will be bought from State Purchasing for Public Works Department.
• Approved payment of invoices over $3,000.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.