The completion of Lonedell R-XIV School District’s new wastewater treatment system has been delayed due to flooding that took place Aug. 30.

Superintendent Jenny Ulrich said the heavy rain caused the new tanks to float out of the ground, which broke the piping. When the tanks and pipes were dug out, construction workers noticed that the tanks had leaks.

“It was actually a blessing in disguise because had this project been done, those tanks could have been leaking and we would’ve never known it or known the cause,” Ulrich said.

The problem with the tanks is probably due to the manufacturing of them, she added. New tanks were delivered Friday, Sept. 20, which are now being installed.

The replaced tanks did not add to the cost of the project, however, it did delay the completion date by two to three weeks, according to Ulrich. The delay also will affect if the lagoon can be closed this year or not.

“John Chapman, the contractor, is working really hard and trying to still meet the deadline of beginning of October to get the project completed,” she said. “There’s still a chance, but we’re definitely delayed.”

Background

During the last week of July, work began on the subsurface land application system. The design plans for the new wastewater system, developed by Cochran Engineering, were approved in April by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The new wastewater system will consist of an additional septic tank, pump and an extra drain field to the district’s existing septic tank system.

The system is referred to as a drip irrigation system. It will have seven pumps and holding tanks that will filter the water. Everything will pump into the sewer system. A roadway will be constructed that leads to the system, which will be fenced in when completed.

The drip system has been installed for the new system, the land has been seeded and strawed, all of the tanks are set and have been backfilled.

The total cost of the project is approximately $290,000. At a July meeting, the school board approved bids from Chapman Contracting to put in the new wastewater plant, Dace Excavating to close the current lagoon, and Casco Electric to install electric and waterlines.

After the new system is up and running, the current lagoon will close. Before it can close, the lagoon has to be completely dried up, according to Ulrich.

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.

The amount of water used within the district has decreased over the years. Now, the district is down to using 1,500 gallons a day. Water usage decreased when leaky toilets and faucets were fixed.

Wastewater treatment lagoons are designed and constructed for the purpose of providing the right environmental conditions for bacteriological processes to proceed.

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 (EPA).

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.