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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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PFOS Again Issue At Water Sewer Meeting

Issue Date: September 19, 2019

The main topic at the City of Peshtigo Water and Sewer Committee meeting Tuesday, Sept. 16 was PFOS. The Influent and Effluent was tested and found to have PFOS in the sludge, not in the drinking water.

A news release was sent out by Director of Public Works, George Cowell stating: On Friday, Sept. 13, the Department of Public Works personnel observed wastewater on the ground and flowing out of the Peshtigo River crossing structure on the West side of the City.

The overflow is located on a wooded area on private property. The area impacted by the wastewater has caution tape installed to limit access to the overflow area. City personnel will continue to monitor the overflow at the sanitary sewer river crossing structure.

Citizens can assist in minimizing the flows to the sanitary sewer by directing all sump pumps discharges to the storm sewer or the ground and not into the sanitary sewer system. Questions can be directed to the City of Peshtigo Director of Public Works, George Cowell at 715-582-0545.

Cowell said, "There is no Health Advisory Limit (HAL) standards set yet but there should be levels set in Fall. I will be meeting with the DNR Wednesday, Sept 18 and will have more information after that meeting".

It appears it is not from Tyco with their contaminant being PFAS and what was found was PFOS. It could be from other sources. Cowell added, "We need to get a control on these, we tried to isolate portions of the system. I would like to talk to the individual business as well as the State of Wisconsin".

There is only one business as a Class C and the rest are a Class B. We may have to create more class B businesses to put more limits on the wastewater discharge. The sludge HAL parts per trillion should be set by Fall 2019.

Cowell stated, "Michigan adopted very aggressive limits, so much so, that those numbers may not even be achievable. We will know more tomorrow of how to go forward". Committee Member, Tom Gryzwa questioned "Is this a wait and see now". Cowell responded, "It is a wait and see, but we have to take a lead on this". He added, "A testing study will be done on the sledge in about three months and should give us an indictor of where we are at".

The Town of Peshtigo was asking for information on connecting to the City of Peshtigo water system. Cowell explained. "The City Consultant needs to review and make a recommendation of how it will affect city water. Chris Kaemfer from Kaemfer and Associates is waiting for Johnson Control Inc.. (JCI) to see if the City would be reimbursed for testing costs. Tyco is looking for answers from the community and we should have those answers soon".

In other action, a deferred payment agreement was approved with an addendum stating 'If default on payments, the City has the right to disconnect service'. Committee Member Tom Gryzwa said, "This puts some teeth into our system. We now have something in writing and a signed contract".

The agreement form is completed with the owners name, address and account information including total arrears amount and down payment information, etc. The agreement states, every deferred payment agreement entered into, due to customer's inability to pay the arrears in full shall provide that service shall not be discontinued if the Customer agrees to pay the remaining arrears in installments. A downpayment will be a minimum of one-half the arrears balance and is required at time of the payment agreement is created. The remaining arrears balance must be paid in installments within 90 days. Payments above shall be in addition to any regular utility bills. If the Customer defaults on the agreement, the agreement becomes void and the full arrears balances is due immediately and default will result in the denial of any future deferred payment agreements.

In his report, Cowell stated five wells were discovered to be unregistered. Letters were written and sent to the residents with those wells with no reply received. These customers will now be referred to the Attorney for processing citations. He also said, "We have the information on updating the sewer and water map and it will be presented with the budget".

Cowell added, "Wastewater Treatment Department has been very busy with various projects, including cameras installed by the septic dump station, a drop box was put up by the main lift station for septic slips, cleaning and televising has been done on the McCagg main transmission line and it was suggested to replace two projection seals. There is a third spot that they couldn't get through with the camera. We will seal the two of them at a price of $6,900 and we need to talk to a contractor to get the third one taken care of".

Cowell also stated he is working with the DNR with the concentration starting at McCagg in the alleys. Testing was done on collection systems in the main lift stations in the Park, the West river crossing, two industries down by the shop, one down the street from Johnson Control (JCI) and will be doing two more tests on the West side river crossing and at both nursing homes with having higher water consumption at these facilities. We need to determine if this is ongoing or historical.

Taryn Nall, Project Engineer from Ruekert and Mielke, Inc. Engineering Firm, commented, "In case you are interested, you can go after the Clean Water Act Fund and you can secure money for 20 years. River crossing has not been submitted in the past and can be submitted this year. The Clean Water Fund is very available and can be applied for at anytime of the year. Sometimes it is 0% interest for certain monies, otherwise it is way below a 2% interest rate. The Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water funds are both available.

The next meeting of the Water and Sewer Committee will be held Tuesday, Oct. 8.


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841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
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