Construction on new wastewater facility begins

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Courtesy photo From left: Russ Twardowski (Project manager TML Construction), Renee Olsen (SFSD Operator), Steve James (JUB Engineers), Mike Fitzgerald (County Commissioner), Brenda Armstrong (SFSD board), Mike Dexter (SFSD Board), John Cuthbert (SFSD chairman board), John Hansen (County Commissioner), Jay Huber (County Commissioner), and Joe Close (SFSD District Manager) at the ground breaking ceremony in Smelterville on May 15.

After several years of talk and planning, the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River Sewer District (SFSD) has finally broken ground on the new expansion to the Page wastewater treatment facility in Smelterville.

Located just off Silver Valley Road across from Page Road, the facility is responsible for treating most of the wastewater in the Silver Valley.

Paid for by a $18 million dollar bond passed by taxpayers in November of 2014, the expansion is being done to meet tighter permit conditions on ammonia levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

SFSD District Manager Joe Close explains that the reason for the facility initially not meeting these requirements is due to it originally being designed and built before the new regulations existed.

“It was never designed for the strict criteria that they (the EPA) came out with in their new permit in 2008,” Close explained.

With this expansion and the planned improvements, the Page facility will not only be able to meet the ammonia standards, but it will also be prepared for future standards as well.

“We also have metals compliance that we will need to meet in the year 2035, Close said.

“It is the first step in getting us ready to meet future permit conditions.”

In addition to the upgrades, the facility will also launch a pilot project that may allow it to do composting with some of Shoshone County’s wood waste in the future.

The additions will also accommodate extra capacity if other systems want to link up to it, such as Smelterville’s aging facility.

Over the past two years, the District evaluated several potential locations for the plant and it was decided that the existing property was the most feasible and cost effective.

To make the area conducive to construction, J-U-B Engineering and STRATA, Inc. (who were contracted to complete the task) had to devise a site improvement project that involved removing a portion of the mine tailings in the area, construct a gravel mat, install vertical drains to “wick” surface water, and lay down additional soil to compact additional tailings.

The expanded treatment facility is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan at 2.5 percent over 40 years.

For more information or questions concerning the project, contact the SFSD office in Osburn at (208) 753-8041.

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