Where Wastewater, And Some Impact Fees, Go - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Where Wastewater, And Some Impact Fees, Go

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KALISPELL -

Behind the talks about impact fees are projects meant to service a swelling population.

After you flush, your wastewater ends up at the wastewater treatment plant for Kalispell and Evergreen.

The treatment plant removes waste and biological nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater before dumping it into Ashley Creek.

Many of the clean up processes take advantage of what some microorganisms would do naturally anyway. Getting all of these critters to work right, and in an almost a conveyor belt layout, is complicated. To keep the flow steady throughout the plant, wastewater is stored in the equalization basin during the day, and then is slowly emptied at night.

"It does have portions that's an aging plant, and it just needs a lot of attention," said Curtis Konecky, the plant manager.

It was built in 1992 and underwent a $22 million major upgrade back in 2009, right after the recession hit.

The plant went from operating at about 80% of its full capacity to 50%.

"I'm interested in the population growing because we need more flow," explained Konecky, "The plant was actually designed for a max capacity of 5.4 million gallons a day and we are down around the 2.4 to 2.6 million gallons per day."

Working at half capacity is tough on the plant.

Right now, the plant is waiting to get another five-year permit from Montana's Department of Environmental Quality that helps them know how clean the water has to be when it leaves.

"We definitely have concerns what the future holds for our next five-year permit," said Konecky.

Every year these standards change, meaning the plant has to keep improving-- not an easy task with a staff of seven.

The treatment plant was supposed to get a new permit this past September, but Konecky says Montana's DEQ is a little backlogged and is giving out permits to smaller towns first.

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