Knowing that mandated improvements to the city's water system wouldn't be completed by an Oct. 1 deadline, the Hannibal Board of Public Works (BPW) proposed short-term solutions to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR) as a way for the BPW to achieve compliance and avoid any fines. According to Mathew Munzlinger, utility planning and construction engineer for the BPW, at least one of the BPW's proposals has been rejected.

Knowing that mandated improvements to the city’s water system wouldn’t be completed by an Oct. 1 deadline, the Hannibal Board of Public Works (BPW) proposed short-term solutions to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR) as a way for the BPW to achieve compliance and avoid any fines. According to Mathew Munzlinger, utility planning and construction engineer for the BPW, at least one of the BPW’s proposals has been rejected.

“We did receive a letter stating that they would not approve one of the proposed solutions. It also stated that further approvals were needed for the second proposed solution,” he wrote in an e-mail on Friday. “We continue forward with the proposed solutions and hope to work something out with MoDNR.”

While the short-term solutions would allow the BPW to achieve compliance with drinking water regulations, Munzlinger added it would not “meet the intent of the agreement previously signed with the MoDNR to receive an extension of the original deadline of October 2013.”

While the MoDNR did not OK one of the BPW’s proposed short-term solutions, they were implemented by Oct.1.

“We are reducing the runtimes on the filters and backwashing them more often. We have also set up a temporary ammonia feed to generate the chloramines,” said Munzlinger, regarding what the short-term solutions entail.

Because the MoDNR has not approved the BPW’s short-term plans, Munzlinger acknowledged that “being fined is still a possibility.”

“We are hoping that we can come to an agreement with them resulting in no fines being assessed,” he said, adding that thus far “nothing has been said” about fines.

If levied, the fines would amount to $500 a day per violation for the first 30 days. Since the Hannibal water system is not in compliance regarding the state’s Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule and Disinfection Byproduct guidelines, those two violations would bring the BPW’s total fine to $1,000 per day. If the violations continue past 30 days, fines would then increase to $1,000 per day for each violation for the next 60 days and then $2,500 per day for each violation.

At the Water Treatment Plant in Riverview Park, work continues on the new ultraviolet (UV) building, which is a key component of the permanent upgrades the BPW must make to the city’s water system.

“Work is progressing rather well,” said Munzlinger. “The electricians have installed a majority of the electrical components and are waiting for the mechanical contractor to complete the installation of the piping, UV reactors and associated flowmeters to finish the wiring. The brick has arrived onsite and the masons are busy installing the brick veneer. The factory representative for the UV reactor is to be onsite the week of Oct. 26.”

The required upgrades are being made in part to bring the amount of Disinfection Byproducts found in the city’s water supply into compliance with water standards. Disinfection Byproducts are formed when chlorine combines with naturally occurring organic matter found in water. For the past four years the BPW has been required by the state to advise its customers that water samples had been found in the water system that were above drinking water standards. Local test results began exceeding the state limits in September 2011.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com