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 Juneau Assembly declined to pass a broaden sales tax exemption for seniors. Opposition from businesses prodded elected officials to refer the initiative back to committee.
- Fines for pet owners whose for critters scooped up by animal control officers have gone up. The fees hadn't been adjusted for nearly 17 years.
- Local education officials are applying for state money to replace and repair leaky roofs at several Juneau schools. About $5 million is coming in over the next five years earmarked for school maintenance from sales tax money that voters approved in the Oct. 3 election.
- "They’re calling it GTA, grand theft Anchorage, right now," said Rep. Lora Reinbold, who says she wants to repeal Senate Bill 91. "It’s outrageous, what’s going on in the city that I love.”