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.
- Kenneth Manzanares, 39, is charged by a federal grand jury with one count of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kristy Manzanares, also 39, aboard the Emerald Princess cruise ship in Southeast Alaska.
- The federal government is moving forward with its review of Hilcorp's proposal to drill offshore for oil in the Arctic.
- A series of promising oil discoveries and a recent move by the Trump administration mean the vast, remote National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is about to get a lot more controversial.
- Details are emerging slowly on the fire at the Peter Pan Seafoods processing plant in Port Moller. The 100-year-old plant caught fire late Tuesday night, and the blaze continued to burn Wednesday. The full scope of the damage is still unclear, but witnesses say it is extensive.