Report shows flow decrease
LE MARS — The Le Mars Wastewater Facilities treated 781,113,000 gallons of raw wastewater in 2020. That comes to an average of 2.14 million gallons per day.
“Our flow is down this year,” Wastewater Superintendent Ron Kayser told city council members in his annual report in February.
“There are a couple of different reasons for that. First it was a dry year. Second, every year we do work on sewer lines to eliminate infiltration. Hopefully it keeps coming down.”
In 2019, the total raw wastewater gallons was 812,74,000.
He said the plants have a removal efficiency rate average of 99.3 for removal of carbonaceous bio-chemical oxygen demand (CBOD), and a 96.7 removal efficiency average for total suspended solids (TSS).
According to a pie chart on flow breakdown from Le Mars, Kayser said citizens and small businesses account for 56 percent of the flow, with Wells Enterprises comprising 33 percent and Kemps Dairy 11 percent.
“This is what comes into the plant,” Kayser said.
In 2020, there was 12,118,701 gallons of bio-solids added to the treatment plant’s lagoon, with 9,905,673 gallons land applied by injection.
“That was applied on 532 acres of land,” Kayser noted.
In looking at the two major industries in town, Kayser said, “Wells is up across the board, but they are shipping out a lot more ice cream. They are up on flow, CBOD and TSS. We are trying to get temporary limits increased so they can keep producing.”
A total of 257,574,000 gallons of raw wastewater was received from Wells Enterprises, covering the north and south ice cream plants.
“We have the same thing with Kemps, their flow is up as well as far as total pounds of CBOD and TSS received,” Kayser said.
There was 86,440,000 gallons of raw wastewater received from Kemps Dairy.
“Is the plant doing more than it’s suppose to do? Yes, but it is being handled,” Kayser assured the city council.
Council member Rex Knapp noted, “We have a city with a couple of industries that 90 percent of towns in Iowa don’t have that are not growing by 30 percent. So we’ve got an unusual situation. I’m not real crazy about having the DNR guys sitting in the audience like he did 10-12 years ago.”
Kayser said the DNR is kept well informed on the situation.
City Administrator Jason Vacura said, “Now we can handle the flow that comes to the plant, but what we’re dealing with is what is in that flow, what are the compounds.”
It is expected there will be some things coming before the city council in the next few months regarding the wastewater treatment plant and possible improvements or changes, according to Kayser.
He continued with his report, stating the city maintains approximately 72.5 miles of sanitary sewer lines in the city limits.
“We take care of 15 lift stations which we inspect, rebuild and repair. Our guys work on that. Very seldom do we hire that work out,” Kayser said.
The Sanitary Sewer in section 1 (north and east) part of the city was inspected by staff, with 70,358 feet cleaned and 20,947 feet televised.
Also in 2020, staff performed complete retrofits on two lift stations, which increased capacities. The 185 feet of manholes rehabbed will help with infiltration, according to Kayser. “We will not be getting so much clear water in the lines.”