Molalla, consultant to answer three questions for final answer to moving effluent designation

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF MOLALLA - Molalla's wastewater treatment plant.DEQ sent a letter to the city of Molalla asking for additional information on three questions regarding the city's position to change to Class C wastewater from Class A. Those answers are requested by Sept. 24.

The letter made changes to the Sept. 12 City Council agenda, moving the scheduled public hearing on the Wastewater Facility and Collection System to an upcoming council meeting. DEQ's answer for the designation change should be available by the end of the month, according to the DEQ.

The three questions concerned the wind speed, acreage verification and specific figures (tables) and exhibits that would make the plan easier to read and understand, according to Gerald Fisher, Molalla's Public Works director.

The agency asked the city to verify how they determine the wind speed for irrigation. Fisher said there are two methods used; one is a weather station at the water treatment plant and the other is a hand-held unit. This is to answer the question regarding the potential of windblown irrigation.

The second question asked to verify the accuracy of how they determined Coleman Ranch acreage. Molalla's consultant is answering this question explaining how they came up with the number of acres for irrigation. The final question also went to the consultant firm, which was asked to add specific tables and figures that weren't initially required. They did this by bringing the information from the technical memo into the main body of the report, Fisher said.

"They asked us to add materials to the report so that it's easier to read," said Fisher. At the DEQ meeting several months ago, some members of the public asked about the possibility of the irrigated wastewater staying on the ranch.

Molalla asked to change the wastewater designation from Class A to Class C several months ago and DEQ held a public meeting to discuss it with residents. The city's wastewater treatment plant was not designed and is considered to be unable to produce Class A wastewater. Fines, when the treated water didn't reach Class A, were numerous costing the city when it only needed to provide Class C. During most of this summer, the plant was producing Class B and Class A, there were only four fines, according to Fisher, who said that the city needed to stop spending money on fines when they only needed to produce Class C.

Carol Rosen
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