The 1993 state enforcement action resulted in an administrative penalty. The initial amount determined by the Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) was over $500,000. Work performed by plant staff and utilizing the WQCD's enforcement penalty policy resulted in a reduction of the penalty amount to less than $82,000. The cities opted to perform environmental studies/work to offset the penalty amount. The projects included:
1. Big Dry Creek Non-motorized Transportation Path
2. Pilot project to evaluate a plant-based nutrient uptake system
The entire penalty amount was offset.
Since the non-compliant operation in 1992, the plant has performed very well. All permit conditions had been met in 1995. Odor production from the facility has been dramatically reduced, as verified by direct observation, comments from the public and comments from City Council. The long-range plan established in 1988 is still in effect and future work will be performed in accordance with the plan.
One emergency situation occurred in August 1995. A total power outage at the facility resulted from the failure of Public Service Company (now Xcel Energy) equipment. The power failure prevented pumping or treatment of sewage for more than two hours. During this time, raw sewage overflowed plant facilities. Approximately 1,500,000 gallons overflowed with over half of the sewage being contained on-site. Approximately 750,000 gallons entered the river. The failure was corrected and the facility returned to normal operation. The State was notified and a formal action was not pursued. Staff has worked closely with Xcel Energy to prevent a re-occurrence.