Soldotna City Council approved an ordinance appropriating funds to conduct a feasibility study on different options for disposing of liquid waste from the wastewater treatment plant.
The most recent report on the city’s wastewater effluent discharge, or sewage, process was done in 2000, so the city has passed an ordinance designating $35,000 to have a more up-to-date understanding of the city’s effluent discharge practices and to, potentially, establish alternatives. Mayor Nels Anderson expressed hope that this ordinance would be the first step in moving Soldotna’s effluent discharge to a less lucrative location.
“We want to see if there were some options so that we could take our sewer system out of the Kenai (River) and put it somewhere else,” Anderson said at Wednesday night’s council meeting. “Hopefully we can combine with Kenai and, perhaps, put a discharge plant somewhere out on K-beach and discharge in a safer place.”
The final effluent, once treated and disinfected, is currently discharged at mile 20 of the Kenai River. The wastewater treatment plant has been operating and discharging safely into the river since the 1970s and the July 2000 report found that discharging into the river was the least costly alternative with the least environmental impact.
This ordinance will update that report, evaluate the efficiency of the plant as it currently runs and study the feasibility of alternatives.
“We know that the discharge happens in an area that king salmon are spawning,” Board of Fisheries member Robert Ruffner said at Wednesday’s meeting. “If there is an alternative that would result in not having that discharge occur in an area as important as it does now, that would be great.”
Reach Kat Sorensen at firstname.lastname@example.org