Mon, Jan. 20

Lagoons get hi-tech cleaning

Sludge-eating baceria have made progress on reducing build up at sewage ponds in Camp Verde as evidenced by a recent photograph of the laggon.

If it continues to achieve results, the sludge-eating process could save the town from having to dredge the sewage ponds, which board members say is a much costlier solution.

"This program could reduce rates. That's a good possibility," said Vice Chairman George Young before the start of the meeting. "It's cheaper than dredging the ponds and transporting it to a landfill."

Diana Burtrum of Probiotic Solutions said, "We establish biostimulators for sludge reduction and odor control. We clean up lagoons, pulp and paper factories, and food processing plants. We also help Mother Nature by detoxifying some of the chemicals used."

She summarized, "We speed up the process of the indigenous bacteria that eats the sludge." That process also releases gas bubbles, which she likened to a person burping after a meal.

Her company applied two products, one that stimulates sludge-eating bacteria and another that detoxifies the material, and now claims to have reduced sludge at the site by more than eight inches. The two lagoons measure about a half-acre each, reaching depths of about 10 feet.

Wednesday's meeting was the first official presentation by the company to the town regarding progress at the lagoons.

"We had our work cut out for us," said Burtrum. "There was an island [of sludge] that covered one-quarter acre of the north lagoon. It started dissipating in October."

She went on to say that the sludge island is now completely gone, having been "digested" by bacteria stimulated by the company.

The total cost to the town for the nine-month trial period with Probiotic Solutions amounted to $12,378. Burtrum said she wants the town to enter into a monthly contract with her company, which she claims could reduce the waste lagoons dramatically. The board voted to approve payment of the bill and consider the monthly maintenance program.

"Working out there, the smell is beautiful," said Dave Godsy, a worker for the sanitary district. "It used to be pretty bad. It's tolerable now."

Young added that the sewage dumping at the lagoons would be shut off when a new plant is constructed. A new plant has been in the planning stages for many years, and is called the 2001 Camp Verde Sanitary District Plant and Collection Line Project.

Protestors objecting to the extension of sewage pipelines were unable to stop those plans at a meeting on Dec. 3. District officials are currently negotiating with U.S. Forest Service officials to obtain the land needed to build the proposed sewage plant.

In other sanitary district news, the board read aloud a letter from Wes Mauldin, who resigned citing reasons unrelated to sewage management. The group agreed to send Mauldin a letter of appreciation for his work and expressed a pressing need to fill his vacant position.

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