Lonedell R-XIV School District can move forward with design plans as the wastewater treatment project was recently approved by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Superintendent Jenny Ulrich said Cochran Engineering can begin the design phase for a new wastewater system as DNR approved a subsurface land application system for the district. The system would consist of an additional septic tank, pump and an extra drain field to the district’s existing septic tank system. The plan is to close the current lagoon after the new system is installed.

“Within the next 30 days, we’re hoping to get approval of the design and permits to start trying to get the job bid out,” she said. “We’re underway now. We kind of have the green light on our facility plan. That’s the part we’ve been waiting for.”

Some tree clearing will need to take place in order to install the new system, according to Ulrich. Maintenance Coordinator Dennis Barry has been in contact with the Fish and Wildlife division of DNR regarding trees that might be a habitat for bats.

She added that Cochran workers have completed the survey fieldwork and they are currently finalizing the draft. The geohydrologic evaluation fieldwork was completed by DNR last month and the report is set to be completed next week.

Ulrich said she is excited that this project is coming along since this has been in the works for years.

“It’s nice to just keep moving forward on this project. It’s something we’ve been looking at trying to decide and plan for,” she said. “Getting to a place where we are ready to move forward and having permission to move forward through DNR is a nice feeling for me personally.”

Background

In 2016, the school district started looking into alternative options with its wastewater lagoon since it will be in violation of national standards soon due to stricter regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The ammonia levels in the lagoon located behind the school on Highway FF eventually will be too high under the new regulations.

The district has until 2020 to upgrade the system. Wastewater treatment lagoons are designed and constructed for the purpose of providing the right environmental conditions for bacteriological processes to proceed.

In a two-cell system, the first cell is the treatment cell and the second is the holding cell. The process is carried out by breaking down of organic matter by the bacteria present in the wastewater.

In October, the school district hired Cochran Engineering to help fix its wastewater lagoon. The amount of water used within the district has decreased over the years. The current lagoon system was built for the use of 5,400 gallons of water a day. The past few years, the district has used between 2,400-2,600 gallons a day.

Now, the district is down to using 1,500 gallons a day. Water usage decreased when leaky toilets and faucets were fixed.