The time for starting up the new Yankton water treatment facility is drawing nearer.

During a discussion Monday night on a change order that would add $48,897 to the $34,511,549 project, Environmental Services Director Kyle Goodmanson took the time to update the Yankton City Commission on where the project is at the moment.

“We’re scheduled for about an Oct. 11 startup at the treatment plant,” Goodmanson said. “That’s about 20 days behind schedule from the original completion.”

He said weather and change orders throughout the project, which began in spring of 2017, set the timetable back, but he’s happy with where things stand at the moment.

“Final completion will be next spring when they do the landscaping and things like that, but we should be making water around mid-October,” he said.

With the new treatment facility, the city will eventually stop using treated surface water from the Missouri River.

“We’ll gradually work into that and make sure we have all of the issues worked out in the new facility,” Goodmanson said. “It will be several months before we’re completely switched over.”

The eventual switch-over will help with a recurring issue the city has had with trihalomethanes (THMs), a byproduct of the chlorination process where chlorine reacts with organic matter which has been in greater abundance in the river due to spring flooding.

In July, the city sent out a postcard noting that it was out of federal compliance for THM levels. The standard for THMs is 80 micrograms per liter, but over the last year, the city has averaged 87.4, 89.80 and 98.74 micrograms per liter.

Goodmanson said switching fully to well-derived water, coupled with more advanced treatment processes in the new facility, will bring the city well within compliance.

However, it will take some time.

“The way that the THM violation works, it’s a running average,” he said. “We came in with some really high numbers based off our source water after the March event with the river water, so that really bumped up our numbers. To get that average down, we’re going to need some really good results. It will be several quarters before we’re out of the THM violations. The new facility and switching over to the collector well for 100% of our water will definitely help and get us back into compliance.”

He issued a reminder that, while the city is out of compliance, it is not to the point that it is a significant health risk to city residents.

“In the short term, there’s no health concerns,” he said. “You do not need to boil your water. You do not need to have an alternative water source. The water is still safe to drink.”

The commission voted 7-0 to approve the change order.

Commissioners Chris Ferdig and Bridget Benson were both absent during Monday’s meeting.

In other business Monday, the Commission:

• Approved the $71,510,684 2020 municipal budget.

• Approved 5% hikes for water, sewer and solid waste rates.

• Approved a request for the city to apply for $9.5 million Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) assistance for work on the wastewater treatment plant.

• Issued a proclamation recognizing the Meridian District Arts Committee’s efforts to bring art to the district.

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