At Wednesday's meeting, the Soldotna City Council accepted $350,000 from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to install an ultraviolet system at the waste water treatment facility.
The upgrade will allow the city to increase the capacity of the facility to keep up with demand that is expected to double to 1 million gallons a day in 18 years, according to HDR Alaska, the city's consultants.
Ultraviolet light disinfects the waste water and is used in conjunction with other methods of treatment. HDR also has suggested the city consider building two new aeration basins to treat waste water.
The total cost of the ultraviolet system is estimated at $500,000. DEC is paying for 70 percent of the project, while the city must fund the remaining $150,000. Currently, the city uses chlorine to disinfect its waste water. Using ultraviolet light would eliminate having to transport, store and use the corrosive chemicals.
Rick Wood, the city's sewer treatment plant operator, said in September that the ultraviolet system would require more maintenance than chlorination but is worth a try. He said the chlorination system still would need to remain in place in case a power failure renders the lights inoperable.
In other council news:
n The council awarded a proclamation of commendation to Kenai River Lodge owner Doug Green for his part in the rescue of a woman who jumped from the Sterling Highway Bridge in Soldotna on Sept. 11.
Mayor Ken Lancaster described Green's wading into the rushing Kenai River to rescue the woman as heroic. Green received a standing ovation from the council and audience.
n City Manager Tom Boedeker said discussions with ATT Alascom and the Kenai Peninsula Borough about locating a cellular phone tower near the Tsalteshi Trails have "fallen by the wayside." Boedeker said he is now in negotiations for a 100-foot-by-100-foot site on city land that had been previously designated for a water reservoir. The tower would be 180 feet tall, and ATT Alascom would pay $6,000 a year rent.
"If we work things out, this will be back before council," Boedeker said.
n Boedeker also announced that the Karen Street ski hill will not be open in time for the Thanksgiving weekend, as was planned. He said delays with fencing and signs have caused the postponement.
He also said the hill would be open 32 hours a week, and only until it starts to get dark.
"We'll experiment with lighting it, but it's not in the budget," Boedeker said.
He added that he expects the ski hill to cost $20,394 a year to operate, without lights.
n Public Works Director Steve Bonebrake gave an update on two construction projects the city has under way. A storage building at the Soldotna Sports Center is coming along nicely, he said, as is the remodel of the basement at city hall.
"The contractors were very nice to us," he said, referring to the city hall project. "They did all their concrete sawing and jackhammer work in the middle of the night."
n At the end of the meeting, each department head and council member took turns congratulating Lancaster for his victory in the race for the Alaska House of Represen-tatives the day before. Lancaster defeated former Soldotna City Council member Pete Sprague for House District 8, which serves Soldotna to Seward.
Many described Lancaster's victory as bittersweet, saying they were pleased he was going to represent them in Juneau, but saddened because he is leaving the city's government.
n The council will not meet on Nov. 22, because of Thanksgiving, and will meet again Dec. 13.
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