The City and Borough of Juneau has bought three more months to avert a fecal cliff.
The city has extended its contract with Waste Management to dispose of processed municipal sewage through March. It was previously set to expire with the new year.
“I guess the cliff has been stayed,” said City Engineering Director Rorie Watt.
Waste Management has been shipping the partially processed sludge to a landfill in Oregon. It’s been reluctant to continue doing so indefinitely because of odor and shipping issues.
Now, city staffers are working on a proposal that would improve processing at the Mendenhall Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant and buy even more time. Most of Juneau’s sewage passes through that facility.
About $3 million in upgrades there would let the plant turn sewage into biosolids that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s minimum level for recycling as fill or fertilizer, Watt said.
“It wouldn’t be the final thing that we do, but it would give us stability in the short run in our shipping, it would lower our volume that we produce, and it would hopefully feed into what our long term solution is,” Watt said.
Disposing of the stuff has been problematic since the city’s sewage sludge incinerator went offline in 2010.
- The co-chairmen of the House Finance Committee revised their plans to introduce an income tax to Alaska for the first time in nearly four decades.
- The Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is in full swing. In less than a week, the fleet has caught over half of its quota. And while most crew members work on the water, spotter pilots fish for herring from the sky.
- A lot of eyes were on the U.S. House today, but, as Republican factions shuttled to the White House to negotiate, it was a day of waiting for most.
- Gov. Walker’s legislation creates a new definition for independent contractors that would determine whether employers have to pay to insure against on-the-job injuries.