Cooperation from the weather, specifically a lack of rainfall, is contributing to the stopping of raw sewage being discharged from the Green Acres subdivision.

From November through January, raw sewage was bypassing the wastewater treatment plant at Green Acres and flowing directly into the Wildcat Creek.

Since a consent decree was signed on Jan. 25 between the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Dennis Jusko, opener of Green Acres Sanitation, Aqua Indiana has been overseeing the operation of the plant.

Michelle Gilbert, an environmental specialist with the Howard County Health Department, said Friday that Aqua Indiana reported no sewage bypass of the treatment plant since that time.

Gilbert said Aqua Indiana reported treating 72,000 gallons of sewage per day and a one day peak load of 92,000 gallons.

The Green Acres plant, constructed in 1968, is permitted to handle 40,000 gallons per day. Gilbert said there is a built in storage capacity to handle peak flows.

“Aqua Indiana reported that no sewage is coming up from the manholes or bypassing the plant,” she said. “The concrete towers over the manholes along the Wildcat Creek are going to be removed.”

Aqua Indiana is going to make recommendations to Jusko on what repairs are needed to the sewage collection system.

“They are going to clean the sewer lines and use cameras to inspect the collection pipes to see where groundwater is entering the system,” Gilbert said.

“The weather is cooperating,” she said. “The heavy rains in November and December compounded the problem.”

There is a concern about the melting snow and predicted rains this weekend, according to Gilbert.

“The melting will have a detrimental effect,” she said.

Gilbert said a second sampling of the water quality in Wildcat Creek near the plant continued to show elevated levels of E. coli bacteria.

The sample was taken on Feb. 7 and tested by the Indiana State Board of Health lab in Indianapolis.

The state allowable level for recreational bodies of water is 235 CFU/100 mL (Colony Forming Units per 100 milliliters). The test showed the E. coli level at the plant at 2,000 CFU/100 mL and at 690 CFU/100 mL at the bridge to the north of the plant.

A sample taken on Jan. 18 showed the E. coli level at the plant of 6,600 CFU/100mL and 3,100 CFU/100mL at the bridge.

The presence of E. coli bacteria in surface water is a common indicator of fecal contamination, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The bacteria in some forms can cause disease in humans.

IDEM filed a civil suit after reports were filed in November that an estimated 100,000 gallons of untreated wastewater was flowing into Wildcat Creek on a daily basis.

The agreement requires Jusko to Maintain the plant in good working order and hire a certified plant operator; the sale of the facility; and a plan for future compliance with state regulations.

Ken de la Bastide can be reached at (765) 454 -8580 or via e-mail at ken.delabastide@kokomotribune.com

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