Barkman Honey and City of Hillsboro agree to cost-share for sewer

The City of Hillsboro and Barkman Honey have been working over the past year on a cost-sharing

agreement for the addition of baffles and aerators in the sewer lagoon. The baffles and aerators were added after a May 4, 2021 meeting where Alan Lutrell of EBH Engineering explained the lagoon’s sludge issue.

Lutrell had explained at the meeting that the sludge is currently 18 inches deep so in order to help with the solution, the plan was for the city to install 10 floating aerators and a series of baffles in the first cell of the lagoon so the aerators could pull the sludge layer and waste up from the bottom of the lagoon and disperse them like a low fountain to incorporate more air into the mix.

“That air allows the biological process in the lagoon to accelerate, breaking down the waste more efficiently and reducing the sludge over time. The baffle system is needed to channel the flow of waste through the aerators,” Lutrell said.

The belief was that the improvements would also solve the problem with the current arrangement where Barkman hauls its washout waste to the old wastewater plant and dumps in an old tank that is no longer serviceable. With the upgrades and the addition of a monitoring station on site for Barkman, the honey washout could be discharged directly into the sewer system. The plan was effective.

The two organizations came to an agreement that was presented at the city council meeting in Hillsboro on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

According to the agreement, Barkman Honey agreed to pay 40% of the cost of the project, a total of $125,028.00, in equal payments over three years.

“The portion of the project paid by Barkman Honey is in proportion to the historic average of wastewater loading that the company contributes to the wastewater system,” said Hillsboro City Administrator Matt Stiles.

Stiles explained that under the agreement, Barkman Honey will be able to double its output without being required to participate in any further capital improvements if such improvements are needed. The agreement does not exempt Barkman Honey from any federal, state or city laws regarding their wastewater. The agreement is limited to capital costs.

“The agreement also dedicates an easement to the city for the installation of a monitor station. At this

point staff and our engineers do not feel that is necessary for getting an accurate reading on the BH

wastewater. Other testing methods can be deployed without incurring the capital costs of a monitoring

station which would have been passed on to BH as part of the agreement,” said Stiles.

The total BH portion of the project will be spread over equal monthly payments totaling $41,676 annually. The project costs have been paid through the sewer fund so monthly payments will reimburse the fund for capital improvement costs.

The council approved the proposed agreement.

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