Upgrades to the Lonedell R-XIV School District’s wastewater system could happen as early as the summer, according to Superintendent Jenny Ulrich.

The school board voted to go with a subsurface land application system at its Jan. 28 meeting.

The system would consist of an additional septic tank, pump and an extra drain field to the district’s existing septic tank system, according to Ulrich.

Cochran Engineering will design the subsurface land application system for the district.

“The next steps in the process are to get approval and permits from (Missouri Department of Natural Resources) for this system type and design,” Ulrich said “After permits are acquired, we hope to move forward with installation this summer.”

The plan is to close the current lagoon after the new system is installed, according to Ulrich.

Background

In 2016, the school district began 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.

A percolation test and sludge have been submitted for analysis. The district received positive results regarding the percolation test, but is still waiting on results about the sludge.

In October, the district hired Cochran Engineering to help fix its wastewater lagoon.

Cochran will look at the initial phase of the wastewater project, determine what kind of plant that needs to be installed, conduct a sewage flow data analysis, review alternatives and develope a report to be sent into the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

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.

The soil type of the land and how much sludge is currently in the lagoon will factor into closing the lagoon or not. Additionally, the size of the wastewater plant depends if the DNR will oversee it or another entity.