The Huntingburg Wastewater Treatment Plant was upgraded in 1995 and currently has excess dry weather treatment capacity. The plant is a modern water pollution control facility with high tech equipment being utilized in process control and laboratory analysis.
Recently, the wastewater utility performed a rate study to evaluate the financial status of the department. It was divulged that even after all of the cost saving measures implemented in the past year, an 11% rate increase was necessary. The rate increase will ensure that the department remains financially sound. Also, to meet bond coverage requirements, a new phosphorous limit has been imposed by the state for 2012. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System or (NPDES) permit from the state has required these new limits. Furthermore, the rate ordinance was unaminously approved on March 3, 2011 by the city council.
The Berm project is now in substantial completion and all aspects are operational.
The combination of high tech equipment in conjunction with highly trained and licensed personnel ensures that the utility functions in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible. In addition, this combination ensures full regulatory compliance and sets the stage for future growth within the City of Huntingburg.
Phosphorus and Water Quality
In surface water, low phosphorus levels limit the growth of algae and water weeds. However, when the phosphorus content of surface water increases, algae and water weeds often grow unchecked, a process call eutrophication. This significant decrease in water quality is a major problem related to manure management in production agriculture and the handling of yard wastes from the landscape environment.
Usually, phosphorus-containing lawn and garden fertilizers are considered the major source of phosphate water pollution. Actually, phosphate fertilizers are rather immobile when applied at correct rates to lawn and garden soils. Phosphate is so immobile in the typical soil that it generally moves less than one inch after application and thus needs to be tilled into the rooting zone to be effective.
However, high rates of manure applied year after year will build soil phosphorus content where leaching becomes a water quality problem.
According to research at the Univeristy of Minnesota, the primary source of water polluting phosphorus in the landscape environment is the mowing, sweeping or blowing of lawn clipping and leaves onto the gutter and street. When mowing, mow in a direction to blow the clippings onto the lawn rather than onto the sidewalk or street. Also sweep any grass on the sidewalk/driveway onto the grass. When dealing with autumn leaves, avoid blowing them into the street!
Grass clippings and leaves mowed or blown into the street are the major source of phosphate pollution from the landscape environment. Mow in a direction to discharge clippings back onto the lawn and not into the street.
Phosphate in fertilizer is not a source of phosphate pollution when applied to a lawn (or garden) soil. However, fertilizer over-spread onto the sidewalk, driveway, and street move with surface runoff into local lakes, streams and ponds. Keep the phosphate out of the street! Sweep any fertilizer that landed on the sidewalk/driveway onto the lawn area!
It is also important to leave an unmowed buffer strip edging all lakes, streams, ponds and wetlands rather than mowing plant residues into the water. Also, do not mow grass clipping into lakes, streams or ponds. Rather leave a unmowed buffer strip around the edge.