Clear Fork school board ponders waste water options

By Louise Swartzwalder - Bellville Star

CLEAR FORK VALLEY – The school district’s handling of a subject not thrilling to many — waste water — was discussed at last week’s meeting of the Clear Fork Valley School District’s board of education.

The villages of Butler and Bellville are collaborating on a plan to build a new plant, which will be located off State Route 97 not far from the middle and high school buildings.

Matt Witter, of the K.E. McCartney engineering firm appeared at the meeting, and told the board what their expectations could be if they link up to the new operating system.

If the school were to tie in to the new plant, it would eliminate the existing water treatment facility located on the west side of the school building. Hooking up to the new plant also would eliminate costs the school district has had in operating its own system.

Witter told the board there are two options for the district to connect to the new public sewer line.

One option is a gravity sewer line, which would cost about $457,000. This would require a lift station near Dill Road and waste water would flow by gravity to the corner of the existing trailer park, where the line would be located.

The other option is a “force main option” where water would be pumped, using no gravity, to the line. This option would cost about $210,000.

The first option would allow anyone to tie into the line. The second option limits the ability for others to tie in, said Witter.

The school district’s system is 20 years old, and that is the time when maintenance problems could be expected, said Witter. Upgrades would probably be called for, he said.

Witter said other school districts have had to face the problem of updating systems and that can run about $325,000.

The district’s current permit is good until 2022. The estimated completion of a new water treatment plant is 2020.

Board member Dan Freund said he thinks it would be risky for the district to not hook up to the new plant, saying the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would “nick us to death” if the district does not join.

Board president Kyle Beveridge asked if problems the village of Bellville has been having with odors will be pushed from that village to Butler.

Butler Mayor Joe Stallard also appeared at the meeting.

Witter said new technology would prevent problems similar to the ones the village of Bellville has experienced.

Witter said the EPA believes the fewer treatment plants, the better.

The cost of maintaining a line to connect with the new plant would only involve paying for it from the building to the easement at State Route 97. Witter and Stallard said if the school district gives the easement, on Oyster property which the district owns, the financial responsibility for maintenance lies with the village.

The school board has a work session scheduled for March 3, and the topic will be discussed then.

Board approved the appointment of Ronald Alexander to serve as referee in a hearing requested by Kirsten DeVito, former principal at the Bellville elementary school.

The board last year had voted to terminate DeVito. A hearing can be requested by a person placed in such a position.

The board, in a work session before the regular meeting, toured the building known as the annex. It also reaffirmed its earlier decision to demolish the Hines Avenue building.

The Hines building currently houses board offices. The annex would have to be renovated to house administrative offices. Air conditioning would be added, it was agreed.

Cari Davis, of Possum Run Road, addressed the board in the time allotted for input from the public.

She said she wants people to know she is not in favor of using school funds for any artificial turf. She said there are other needs, including improvements in the bus garage and air conditioning for the high school.

By Louise Swartzwalder

Bellville Star