The Greenfield City Council, Tuesday, July 15, learned that the Metropolitan Council has decided to delay extension of sanitary sewers to Loretto for three years — a decision that could get Loretto in trouble with the Environmental Protection Agency and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
State Rep. Jerry Hertaus, R-Greenfield, stopped by his home city and said the city of Loretto has appealed to his office for help. He said he suggested that Loretto ask the cities of Greenfield, Medina and Independence for letters of support. He and Sen. Dave Osmek, R-Mound, would include the letters in their communications with the two agencies. The Greenfield City Council agreed to write a letter.
Hertaus explained how the Met Council decision affects not only Loretto, but also Greenfield, Medina and Independence. All four cities have commitments to reduce their phosphorus inputs into Lake Independence via their total maximum daily load plans. Loretto’s plan calls for connecting to metropolitan sanitary sewers and closing its wastewater treatment ponds to eliminate the city’s drainage of phosphorus into Lake Independence.
In 2007 Loretto agreed to get its phosphorus drainage down to zero by 2017 with the understanding that the city would be connected to metro sewers by 2017. And now the Met Council has decided to delay the sewer extension to 2020 — making it impossible for Loretto to get eliminate its phosphorus loading by 2017. This could affect phosphorus reduction goals of the other three cities. The EPA and MPCA are the ultimate authorities for enforcing the daily load plans.
Meanwhile, Greenfield, Medina and Independence are partners in the Tri-City Agreement, under which portions of these cities are hooked up to metro sanitary sewers. Loretto has asked Medina, administrator of the Tri-City Agreement, for permission to hook up to Tri-City sewers. Medina does not want Loretto to hook up at this time because of capacity concerns, Hertaus said.
By the end of July, Loretto must provide the MPCA with “compelling reasons” for extending the city’s wastewater permit to 2020, along with costs for a temporary solution via the Tri-City Agreement, he said. But Medina has said no to the Tri-City route.
Hertaus said that Loretto’s original deadline of 2017 is still three years away. The Met Council has time to do a feasibility study, have funding and make budget adjustments for a sewer extension that would enable Loretto to meet the 2017 zero phosphorus deadline. If the Met Council does not hear from all of the cities about the importance of sticking with the original schedule, the council is likely to stick with its decision to push back construction.
More than one Greenfield City Council member said he wondered whether the Met Council considers total maximum daily load plans to be a priority.
Hertaus said he understood why Medina does not want Loretto to hook up to Tri-City sewers at this time. Greenfield’s wastewater discharge has not been accepted because of storm water infiltration into sewers downstream. He and Greenfield Mayor Brad Johnson have talked about the infiltration problem. Sewer improvements around Lake Sarah have made “a dramatic difference.” Timely improvements cutting down infiltration could result in additional capacity that would benefit Greenfield.
Mayor Johnson said that, despite heavy rains this spring, Greenfield did not have sewer infiltration problems.
The City Council reviewed a proposed contract with the Hennepin County Sheriff for law enforcement protection and decided to include it in discussions of Greenfield’s 2015 budget. The contract would be for three hours of protection per day. City councilors asked that Greenfield consider paying for four hours protection per day because the Sheriff’s Office has given the city more protection than three hours per day.
Under the proposed contract, Greenfield would pay the Sheriff’s Office $63.32 per hour in 2015, adding up to a total amount for the year of $69,335.40 for three hours’ daily coverage. This would be a 3 percent increase over 2014. Figures would increase to $65.21 per hour in 2016, adding up to a total amount of $71,404.95.
TOWN HALL PAINTING
The City Council accepted a low bid of $3,096.20 from AM Painting for painting at Town Hall and a storage barn. The bid does not include the cost of paint. Greenfield already has paint on hand.
CITY HALL OFFICE HOURS
City Administrator Bonnie Ritter asked for and got council approval for a change in City Hall office hours. New office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30-11:30 a.m. Friday.
The next Greenfield City Council meeting will be 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, because the city will observe Night to Unite on Aug. 5. The council normally meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month.
Contact Susan Van Cleaf at [email protected]