The Alma City Council signed off on an amendment concerning violations at the city’s wastewater treatment facility Thursday.

The City Council passed a resolution consenting to an Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality consent administrative order amendment and authorizing Alma Mayor Jerry Martin and City Clerk Wayne Beck to sign the amendment on Alma’s behalf, Beck stated in an email.

The city of Alma operates a wastewater treatment plant at 2500 Orrick Road in Alma, which violated ADEQ’s permitted effluent discharge limits on several occasions from Aug. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2017. Alma and ADEQ entered into a consent administrative order on Jan. 4, 2018.

Alma had agreed to achieve compliance with all permitted effluent limitations by no later than Dec. 31, 2018. The city requested an extension of the final compliance date on Nov. 20, 2018 and ADEQ was willing to accept this request.

The amendment states Alma’s request to amend the consent administrative order included an amended corrective action plan with a revised corrective action method, a revised milestone schedule and a new final compliance date of Dec. 31. It also states ADEQ conducted a review of certified discharge monitoring reports submitted by Alma in accordance with the NPDES permit on Nov. 21, 2018. This revealed two violations for fecal coliform of the permitted effluent discharge limits detailed in the permit from Oct. 1, 2017 through Nov. 1, 2018.

Alma Public Works Director Mark Yardley said the request to amend the consent administrative order was submitted by the city through its engineering consultant, Morrison-Shipley Engineers Inc.

“The product that we are using to resolve the algae growth issues was going to take longer to manufacture than the original consent order allowed for, so we needed more time,” Yardley said.

The consent administrative order states ADEQ conducted a review of certified discharge monitoring reports submitted by Alma on Oct. 13, 2017. This review revealed Alma reported a total of 20 discharge limitation violations from Aug. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2017, including 14 violations for biochemical oxygen demand and six violations for total suspended solids. Yardley said both of these types of violations resulted from an increase in algae growth. However, the two fecal coliform violations mentioned in the consent administrative order amendment are unrelated to this.

Amendments that were made to the order and agreement section of the consent administrative order include, in addition to complying with the terms, milestone schedule and final compliance date detailed in the amended corrective action plan, Alma will submit quarterly progress reports to ADEQ detailing the work completed to correct the permitted effluent limit violations cited in the order. The first report would be due Thursday. In addition, Alma will submit a certification of compliance from a professional engineer on or before Dec. 31 stating the corrective actions listed in the amended corrective action plan have been completed and Alma is in compliance with the effluent limitations of the NPDES permit.

Yardley said the progress report that was due Thursday had been submitted to ADEQ.