DEP Has Questions for City of Tallahassee

DEP wants an answer as to what happened; the city says it’s ready to explain.

From February 03 to February 04, there were some problems at the City of Tallahassee water treatment plant, ending in citations from DEP.

"During the 13 months or some 400 days, due to some constraints in our bio-solids disposal system, solid levels in our treatment plant rose to precarious levels on 20 days.
Despite our best practices, solids overflowed and we exceeded the DEP limit for solids,” says City Water Utility General Manager Jim Oskowis.

This is what Oskowis is talking about.

This treatment tank is supposed to separate solids from the water; the water goes over the edge, and into this chlorination treatment tank. The solids will sink and be pushed into this hole, and eventually turned into bio-solid, by being dried out with the dragon dryer.

But on 20 separate days over a year period, that didn't happen, resulting in questions from DEP.

"We never did exceed the limits of oxygen and fecal coliform limits which I think are better indicators of strength of waste water,” Oksowis adds.

Because of the citations, there's been concern from people living near the spray field. Some report hearing contaminated water was sprayed there.

"I think I have information that will be a relief to my neighbors. Some were concerned they may have been exposed to bacteria, that was not the case. The spray field did not release excessive levels of bacteria,” says Don Axelrad, who lives near the spray field.

The city says the water treatment plant has not had any problems since February 04 and is currently in compliance. The city says that at no point was anyone's health ever at risk.

The water that was used on the spray field, even if it was high in bio-solid material was always chlorinated first, making it safe.