Nyssa Officials Mark Opening
by Larry Meyer
Anglers reel in thousands; local economy gets boost
NYSSA -- Nyssa Wastewater Treatment Plant Supervisor Myra Hartley had one big fear while crews grappled with a project for a new wastewater system: mechanical breakdowns on the old infrastructure.
As it turned out, Hartley did not need to worry as the old wastewater plant kept chugging along until the valves were opened and switches turned on to the new system Tuesday morning.
That the city was still in compliance with its wastewater discharge permit had Hartley and others expressing amazement.
"It was needed bad," Glade Chadwick, longtime Nyssa resident said. "It (an increase in utility fees) is going to be bad for the people on fixed incomes," Chadwick said, adding, however, the city needed the improvements if it is going to grow.
There was little fanfare for the event as few city officials gathered to look over the new facilities and hear an explanation of the operation.
Lynn Findley, project inspector for Anderson Perry, La Grande, the firm which designed and engineered the project, said the wastewater is delivered from the city into a vault where rags and other debris are removed and then it is dumped into a large tank where it is pumped out and sent into the lagoons.
Two large pumps, each rated at 1,150 gallons per minute, handle the flow, on an alternating basis. However, Tuesday morning the pumps were moving more than 1,300 gallons per minute. A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned for the future.
The wastewater will be treated in two cells -- or ponds -- and then held in a third until it can be sprinkled on alfalfa fields the city will develop as part of the project. The first pond is 15 acres, the second is 10 acres and the holding pond covers about 32 acres.
"We will begin dismantling the old plant in about two weeks," Findley said.
The RV dump station will also be relocated, he said.
Asked for her thoughts Tuesday morning Hartley was succinct.
"I can't even tell you," Hartley said, unable to come up with the words to express her feelings. "We've been hanging on by a thread for so long. At least we were able to be in compliance."
The project has been 15 years in the making, with a long delay imposed while the Snake River-Hells Canyon TMDL/Water Quality plan was written. It determined what the city would have to do reduce the amounts of pollutants in the Snake River and helped resolve what route the city would take in handling its waste water.
The cost of the project, more than $8 million, is being paid for by a combination grants and loans from the USDA Rural Development program, Oregon State Revolving Fund through the Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Department of Economic and Community Development.
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