Council hears continued utilities update

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Sidney’s wastewater treatment and stormwater management operations are in good shape and are capable of handling industrial growth, Sidney City Council learned Monday evening.

Utilities Director Bill Blakely continued his presented of the city’s annual underground utilities update at council’s workshop meeting.

The wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) is capable of handling the flow of several additional industrial facilities, Blakely said. Currently the plant’s average daily flow is at 72% of capacity.

The WWTP received six violations in 2019, two each were for dissolved oxygen and pH and two were from suspected industrial discharge. between back to 2015. His report showed the 16 significant industrial users and violations received from 2015 through 2019. It also showed there were 7 blending events last year.

Blakely said they work diligently at the plant with all industrial users to achieve and maintain compliance of any discharged pollutants. In 2019, WWTP issued 22 notice of violations or NOV’s.

Based upon 2019 data, Sidney’s plant can handle enough wastewater flow for nine additional factories the size of Cargill and remove pollutants for seven additional facilities the size of Freshway Foods.

In summary, Blakely said the plant continues to operate efficiently and effectively. He also pointed out that Sidney’s industrial base is the fourth largest in southwest Ohio.

In stormwater management, Blakely said the city is required to conduct six minimum control measures to receive a five-year National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit: public education/outreach; public involvement/participation; illicit discharge detection/elimination; construction site stormwater runoff control; post-construction stormwater management; and pollution prevention/good housekeeping.

The public education effort requires 50% of the population, he said. They utilize five different themes, including a billboard that reminded viewers “storm drains are not garbage cans” and by distributing information to the public with the help of Shelby County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). They work to educate first time offenders who discharge illicit materials. It is usually sufficient.

The SWCD helps to provide education about clean water through the schools, Blakely said. They conduct five public activities per year and also do a clean sweep of the Great Miami River to remove trash.

Summarizing the city’s stormwater monitoring program, Blakely said the city is meeting all Ohio EPA requirements; enforcement has been accomplished through education rather than penalties; storm sewer mapping remains an item needed to be completed; future removal of clean water inflow and infiltration (I&I) from sanitary sewers may place additional demands on storm sewer system; and the stormwater management plan needs to be updated.

The 2020 $1.05 stormwater capital fee, which is up from 91 cents in 2019, is expected to generate about $384,000 annually for capital projects. He also noted that despite the 90 cent stormwater fee increase implemented in 2018, the city of Sidney’s stormwater fee is still much lower than surrounding communities’ fees.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.