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Atwood Village Board Discusses Compliance to Waste Water Treatment Plant Violation

By Doris Elmore
Staff Writer

When you are running a village there are always issues that come up you are unprepared to deal with. The Atwood Village Board is in the process of dealing with such an issue with the Atwood Waste Water Treatment Plant. Andrew Hanfland with Farnsworth gave a presentation on this subject at the regular meeting of the board on Monday, February 13.

The village provides weekly test results of the effluent (waste water discharge to the river) of the waste water treatment plant. The village has been notified by the Illinois EPA that they are in violation due to the high amounts of ammonia in the effluent.

On the village’s behalf, Farnsworth responded to the IEPA and requested a meeting to discuss the violation. The meeting was held on February 8. Attendees were Hanfland, Bill Fleming, Scott Harris, Jeff Mercer and Daron Soard of the village as well as IEPA officials from Champaign and Springfield.

During this meeting, Hanfland represented the village to state the current condition and abilities of the waste water treatment plant and the possible means to correct the issue. The IEPA listened to the village’s position and directed the village to provide a written response outlining the action they will be taking to correct the violation and a timeline of when the corrections will be completed. Farnsworth drafted a letter to Illinois EPA and provided it to Jeff who sent it to the IEPA on the village’s behalf on February 8, 2023. The letter will provide the village’s commitment to addressing the issues concerning how they plan to comply with the permit limits for ammonia in the effluent of the waste water treatment plant as well as a timeline showing actions to be taken and a deadline of when the issue will be corrected.

Goal #1: A short-term resolution the village plans is to utilize the addition of chemicals into the effluent of the waste treatment plant with the goal of reducing the ammonia level during critical periods. This is only a temporary solution and testing may determine that it is not feasible or difficult to maintain consistently. The intent is to lower the ammonia levels to stay off the IEPA’s Watchlist.

The long-term solution will be to provide long term resolution to reduce the ammonia levels in the waste water plant’s effluent. Initial and general speculation at this time is that the cost to complete these items will be between $1 million and $2 million.

The IEPA currently has a low interest loan program for these types of projects and the village is anticipating that the village will qualify for the IEPA’s loan forgiveness option. More information will be forthcoming following the next meeting.

Village President Bill Fleming added, “I want to stress to all residents that this issue only affects the sewer treatment plant operation, and in no way affects the water treatment plant or the quality of our water.”

The board approved expenditures in the amount of $12,956.12.

According to President Fleming, three ordinance violations have been issued to one commercial property owner downtown. If no action is taken or communication received that action is being taken to remedy the issues, the village will follow-up with a second 3rd violation notice before turning it over to the village attorney for legal action.

Fleming thanked Dave Ard, Allen Kilber, Jeff Mercer and Daron Soard for their work on the new village hall building. Completion has been made in the removal of all designated walls, ceiling tiles, furniture, sinks/vanities, carpet and floor tile. The remodeling portion was turned over to Davis Construction. Once completed the village will paint all interior walls which will complete the remodeling project. At present, they are estimating their work to be completed by the beginning of spring.

Fleming anticipates the relocation of the office not to take place until after the April 4 election.

Chris Forman, A-H Grade School Principal, was in attendance to talk to the board regarding two items from the school. First item was to remove the crosswalk from the center of N. Illinois Street and take sign down. He also suggested signage near the corners of Orchard, Hickory and Indiana. They are working on a different way for parents to pick up their children. The second item was to change the address of the school from 316 N. Illinois to 225 W. Hickory, which is the front of the school. The village agreed to help with this project.

The village received notification from Ameren that tree trimming crews will be working in the village in the near future. The crews will only be trimming trees that could interfere with electric lines running from pole to pole, not poles to the home.

Residents should have received postcards in their mail informing them of this project and if anyone wanted free wood chips to contact Ameren.

Ryan Staley of Farnsworth Group gave a report concerning the business district repaving project. He stated that he has filed the proper paperwork with the state for this project.

The village board approved the contract for the purchase of additional land for the park expansion project from Tad & Jamie Simpson.

General Fence Company submitted the following updated quote for fence at the ball diamonds. 1. NW ball diamond: Install 94’ of new 6’ chain link wire, 48’ of new 7’ 9ga. Chain link wire 48’ of toprail, (4) 3” posts, (6) 2 3/8 posts and miscellaneous fittings to do both dugouts, total: $4,863; 2. SE ball diamond: install 108’ of 6’ 9 ga. Chain ink wire, 130’ of toprail (8) 2 3/8 posts and miscellaneous fittings needed to do both dugouts, total: $4,405. This quote was accepted.

A motion was passed to pay Ameren $5,898 to replace the street lights in the business district. A motion was passed to accept the quote of $10,605 from S Cubed Enterprises to install electric meter installations in the downtown area. They will supply material and labor and install (2) 200 Amp meter loops for the underground meter installation for the new beautification project. This will provide power to vendors for the Atwood Apple Dumpling Festival and other occasions as needed.

The TIF application in the amount of $10,605 from the Village of Atwood was approved.

Updates on the village 3-year business plan were discussed and accepted.

Scott Harris made a motion to accept the resignation of Atwood Police Chief Rob Bross with regret. Motion approved by board.

A motion was approved the bid from Honn Trucking, not to exceed $5,000, to remove the concrete and ash piles from the village dump. It is expected to take 35 loads.

Village Clean-up Day was set for Saturday, May 13. More information for clean-up will be forthcoming.

Mike Shepherd was present to gain permission to add rock to the alley behind his house. Jeff Mercer will work with Mike on this project.

The next meeting of the board will be held on Monday, March 14, at 6 p.m.

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