The city of Bonners Ferry has agreed to pay a $12,300 fine to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency for discharge permit violations from its wastewater treatment plant.
The violations occurred from June 2005 to May 2010, and were primarily caused by elevated algae levels during the summer.
The treatment plant, serving nearly 2,600 people, is part of a sanitary sewer system that receives domestic wastewater from residential and commercial sources. The treated wastewater from the plant is discharged into the Kootenai River.
To address the permit violations, the city has reduced inflow and infiltration into their collection system and is removing the sludge buildup in the sewage lagoons.
City officials are committed to complying with its discharge permit, and have taken a number of steps to reduce the permit violations. These steps include methods to mitigate algae growth in the lagoon ponds, installation of additional aeration equipment and dredging the ponds to increase their efficiency.
The city has received a grant from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to fund a planning study of their wastewater system to identify long term improvement option, said David Sims, the city of Bonners Ferry’s assistant city administrator.
The improvements made over the last several years have increased the efficiency of the city’s system, and they have not had a permit level violation for the last 15 months.