At some point in time, Franklin County officials will have to disclose details of the stormwater infiltration study it recently received, according to Pacific officials.
A study detailing the locations and conditions where stormwater can infiltrate the Brush Creek Sewer District lines, as well as the cost to make needed repairs, was prepared by Water District No. 3, which manages the sewer district.
The city of Pacific processes sewage for the sewer district under a contract that daily volume be no more than 200,000 gallons. In normal weather, the limit is not exceeded, but the volume increases following heavy rains and reaches volumes of several hundred thousand gallons in one day.
The sewer district directors ordered the infiltration study after the city of Pacific sued the district for contract violation, claiming it discharged too much sewage into the city system.
A story in the Sept. 25 issue of The Missourian reported that the sewer district has received the report, but will not reveal its contents because of the lawsuit.
Pacific officials say the decision to keep the condition of the sewer district lines from the public can only be temporary. They say it is in the public interest to know the details of the report.
“At some point in time, it will have to be made public,” Mayor Herb Adams said. “If this ends up in court it would have to be disclosed.”
If the disagreement is worked out without going to court, the public would still need to know what was found, he said.
“I would talk to the lawyers, but there would have to be some legal reason to keep this from the public,” Adams said. “The citizens of Pacific and Brush Creek Sewer District ‘users’ have to know the condition of the sewer system.”
Pacific City Attorney Dan Vogel agreed that the results of the study should be made public.
“Of course the city and the public should be told what is going on and the city will certainly expect that the district produce all factual information about their ongoing violations,” Vogel said. “They (sewer district officials) are under direct schedule of compliance to produce the information regarding the maintenance failures and system defects.”
Adams said it’s his hope that once sewer district directors review the scope of the problems, they will put together a program of repairs that would greatly reduce the infiltration program.
“In the end, what we want is compliance with our contract, which is no more than 200,000 gallons a day,” Adams said. “We’re all going to have to work together in the future.”