Biosolids workshop set

John Scarffe


The new Biosolids digester took up a big load of time for the Nederland Board of Trustees during a regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, at the Nederland Community Center. Public Works Director Chris Pelletier also proposed a new recycling program for Nederland.

Pelletier proposed a pilot project recycling program for the Nederland Public Works Department. He said the Town has received a zero waste grant for $9,000. “The idea is to instigate that program here in town paying 35 cents per square foot for construction projects as an incentive to recycle scrap wood and materials.”

An area and a scale could be provided at the new town shop to bring materials there. “It’s a way of not forcing people but trying to incentivize this,” Pelletier said. He is just trying to get feedback from the Board and then tweak the plans for a future meeting agenda.

They would recycle by weight. “One thing you see at construction sites is a dumpster full of scrap wood,” Pelletier said.

Public Works proposes the program to instigate Construction and Demolition (C&D) recycling, according to the agenda information memorandum to the Board. “Staff wishes to change the fee schedule to raise the cost of construction and demolition permits by adding a deposit fee.”

The purpose is to cover the cost of administering the recycling program, according to the memo. Public Works received the Zero Waste grant from Boulder County to begin a program to encourage C&D recycling.

Public Works would like to change the construction and demolition permitting process to reward contractors for diverting construction lumber and scrap metal by returning a portion of their deposit based on the amount they are able to divert from the landfill, according to the memo. Staff will track and quantify the material and provide a slip to the contractor.

“We will truck the material down to Western Disposal for processing as needed. Public Works will use the funds rewarded for the purchasing of a scale,” according to the memo. “We will also use funds to make signs for contractors to place at their construction sites that could read: ‘This site is committed to Nederland’s goals of zero waste. This project is supported in part by Boulder County.’”

The funds will also be used to print flyers that inform contractors of ways they can recycle materials. “Nederland will be the first community in Boulder County to instigate this kind of policy.”

Trustee Stephanie Miller was curious about how much it will cost. Pelletier said he planned to hire an independent contractor to haul the material, and a part-time person one day a week to weigh the material.

Trustee Kevin Mueller said this is a great idea. He’d encourage using the Town website or Facebook – some way to get out to the public that we have construction materials, so come and grab it. Mueller would want developers and the community to do as much work as possible. He suggested setting up a separate account to make it clean and developing a report that would come out of this program.

Pelletier introduced the topic of the Biosolids project. The goal for this meeting was to inform the Trustees of the schedule for submission to the state of the Biosolids Process Design Report and 30 percent design for the Waste Water Treatment Facility, according to the agenda information memorandum. “The Engineering Firm JVA, Inc., has been contracted to produce and submit a Process Design Review (PDR) and 30 percent design to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), for expansion of Nederland’s waste water treatment facility.”

Pelletier said that he has talked to state officials and met with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). According to the memo, Staff and JVA have met with prospective donors for a prequalification meeting to assess the Town’s financial status. This meeting determined that the town is in good financial shape and qualifies for a direct two percent loan.

The meeting was very positive, but Nederland does not meet the criteria for a disadvantaged community, Pelletier said. “We don’t come close and don’t get any funds for engineering, but we’re in very good shape to qualify for a low market State Revolving Fund loan. The loan can also be used to a match funds from DOLA, and he will be talking to Don Sandoval with DOLA.

A Biosolids Study was completed in 2015 and presented different options for waste treatment, according to the memo. The Board heard this presentation of results and options at its July 7, 2015, meeting. The Board approved a task order at the August 2, 2016, meeting to allow JVA, Inc., to perform the first task for design services for solids processing.

Gustafson asked about the water leaks from the system, and Pelletier said they have been going on for a couple of years and they did know about them. They have checked the whole run, including the tank at Big Springs, but they haven’t been able to pinpoint the leaks.

Pelletier said he has worked with JVA, Inc., and Trustees Topher Donahue and Mueller to put together a generic OPR addressing where the Trustees are coming from and the issues they want to see addressed. Pelletier said he was not expecting the Board to act on the project that night but recommends a workshop to nail down what the Trustees want to see here. They are only at 30 percent design and would like to see it at 60 percent.

Andrew Sparn, with JVA, said they have taken a stab in the dark for the OPR, but the Board can’t debate some items to gain approval from the state health department. “Now is the time to get the OPR goals established. The Town staff has put a lot of elbow grease into this. We need a workshop or get your ideas in front of us.”

The early phase of the design is generally the nuts and bolts of the design, sizing equipment and process control, according to the memo. Staff recommends developing the OPR early in the process before 60 percent design and doesn’t recommend continuing to 60 percent design until outside funding has been secured.

Trustee Stephanie Miller said she is flying blind as far as chemical usage, something explaining ranges would help her. Sparm said the document Pelletier is getting together for the next stage would help.

“We want the OPR requirements to come from you,” Sparm said. Mayor Pro-Tem Charles Wood said the driver on this is the $15,000 a day fine that could happen if we don’t do something. Kicking off the need for the Biosolids program was a letter from CDPHE stating that Nederland would be fined if they don’t fix leaks in the system.

“If we can’t accomplish that piece, and if we can’t afford it, that’s not going to happen. A lot of this depends on what we can fund. We can’t afford to get down the road to a place where we can’t get a bid or a grant,” Wood said.

Pelletier said there is an opportunity for a better interest rate if they make the project complete. “I don’t know if funds are going to be available considering the political climate.”

Sparm said they had a great meeting with DOLA, as Pelletier reported. “They owe us a letter in the next week, kind of like a credit report. Once we see that we’ll have a lot better sense of where the town stands. A two percent loan combined with DOLA dollars would make this project a reality.”

All of the DOLA money for 2017 has been allocated, Sparm said. “If that money is available that would be something we would be designing to. There’s no guarantee. Right now it’s not there. Pelletier and JVA will continue to court DOLA and talk to Don Sandoval. If we get positive input, the town should be prepared by August 1 to apply for a grant.”

Sparm said that, as far as a timeline, the Town needs to have the loan dollars to match the DOLA grant. They should go for the loan by the end of May. It is a long process. “If we apply at the end of May, we won’t know until early January 2018.”

The Board needs to approve a resolution to apply and a Project Needs Assessment must be completed. That is outside JVA scope right now and would cost $2,000 to pull together, Sparm said. The first meeting in May would be ideal. “We would know what loans are available.”

Mueller asked about the 2015 violation from the state, and Pelletier said Nederland was in violation but wasn’t fined. “We failed there, and the document said, if you do that again, here’s what could happen.”

Mueller asked the difference between a concrete tank and sewer lagoon. Sparm replied that concrete is going to last longer, and a lagoon isn’t covered. Having a covered building is better.

Mueller asked: “What’s required after these phases? Are we meeting or not meeting the objectives of the state? What are the characteristics of the output that goes into the truck? What ae we looking for there? Is this even possible and, if it is, at what cost? I’m thinking in terms of a building.”

Mueller then said he would like to bring compost back up. “We want to get a valuable material out of it. Where is the value coming from?  Sparm asked if Mueller was talking about Class A compost. “Is that the goal? You want to utilize that up here?” The Town can take the wood from recycling, chip it and it into put into the Biosolid.

Sparm noted that generally smaller plants don’t do this. Many have moved to Class B, reducing the amount of waste you’re hauling, and you’re able to use it on croplands. Mueller said that’s where we want to be for the OPR. Class A is the ultimate goal. “That’s what we want to think. Build soil in our forests. Inoculate class A with wood chips and fungus”.

Sparm said that the southern edge of the lagoon would need to be removed to make room for the digester and telling the state that, during a flood, this is where we’re going to overflow.

Mayor Larsen said this discussion should happen at the workshop. “We’re going to have a lot more details from JVA.” Mueller said the OPR needs to be done before 30 percent.

Sparm said this is literally the design process. “You’re proving to the state that our ducks are in a row for processing the waste. We want this to be as close to zero as possible — the lowest energy consumption as possible.

The Board agreed to schedule the workshop for May 9, 2017 at 7 p.m., with more information in April. The Board met on April 4. The next meeting of the Nederland Board of Trustees will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, at the Nederland Community Center.