Green Forest City Council to debate equipment purchase

Friday, April 8, 2011

GREEN FOREST -- At next Monday's monthly meeting, the Green Forest City Council will decide which sludge press to purchase to treat the city's wastewater sludge.

The sludge press will be used at the city's wastewater treatment plant to turn sludge into a dry cake. The dry cake will then be placed in a landfill.

Sludge presses are becoming more common at municipalities in the region. Eureka Springs and Berryville already own one and Harrison is looking into getting one.

Currently, the city is applying its sludge as a fertilizer at farms approved by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

But because of stricter environmental rules, it's getting harder to find farmers who will accept the sludge, said Buddy Fry, the Green Forest Public Works Director.

At Monday's meeting, the city will decide between two sludge presses, the Aeromod model and the Ashbrook model.

The biggest difference between these two models is their size.

With an overall construction cost of around $495,000, the Aeromod weighs 4,700 pounds and is a self-contained unit that presses water out of the sludge.

Meanwhile, the Ashbrook has an overall construction cost of around $585,00 and weighs 17,000 pounds. The Ashbrook also has a hydraulic press.

Both of these cost estimates include building the structure that will encompass the sludge press.

Green Forest Mayor Charlie Reece said he prefers the Ashbrook.

"It's like choosing between a Chevrolet and a Mercedes," the mayor said.

Reece brought up the subject of purchasing a sludge press when he took office two years ago. The city originally planned on building a new wastewater treatment plant that would have cost the city around $6 million.

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