Cost was expected between $11,000 and $13,000 and was not budgeted for this year.
Schrader said the problem is with the amount of sludge being produced and time it takes to get it dried and hauled off.
Three digesters dump treated sludge into drying beds, where liquid evaporates to the point where the sludge can be hauled off to a landfill.
A couple things created the situation, said Water/Wastewater operator Coplin. One was that the new plant produces more sludge than the old one because of the process involved in phosphorus removal, required by law. The other is weather.
"The year before last, we had 80 inches of rain," he said. "That not only backed us up, it killed us for the year."
He said it took three years to get to this point, however, and only recently it came to an emergency situation.
Coplin said the plant has had 17 straight months of a "perfect record" with the EPA.
"It has never had that in its history."
Last year the plant won Wastewater Small System award of the year with the Arkansas Water Works and Water Environmental Association.
"We want to keep our perfect record," Coplin said.
Schrader said there were three options for sludge removal. One is to haul it off in its liquid state, but it would cost $33,000. Another is to rent a belt press to convert all three digesters to dried sludge, the one recommended. The third is to do a combination of dried and liquid removal.
A belt press has not been used in Holiday Island before.
Chairman Linda Griswold said she looked online and saw a belt press requires certain electrical hookups.
"It requires a 480 three-phase, and we have that," said Schrader. "We have a transformer at the plant. We also have a lift station that is wired to be able to handle that."
The district buying its own belt press is out of the question. They cost $175,000 to $250,000, he said.
Two companies in the region have belt presses available for rent, but one is not available until October.
The board noted that under its regulations, it does not have to go out for bid for the service because this is an unforeseen emergency that concerns health and safety.
Schrader said when he first came to interview for the job he looked at everything and expressed concerns about the sludge and knew "something wasn't right and still to this day hasn't changed and just keeps getting worse."
Speaking of the upcoming 2013 budget process, Commissioner Ken Brown said to Roads Superintendent Kenny DeHart and Schrader, "We want you to be very vocal about planning for these needs because it wasn't noticed."
DeHart, who was general Public Works director until Schrader was hired to oversee Water/Wastewater, corrected that statement.
"This issue was noticed quite a ways back, but it never got pursued. I can assure you it was brought up many times. I didn't feel like it was my job to go over someone's head."
The board directed Schrader to ask for a contract with the company that can get the belt press to the district sooner.
He did so, and at a special meeting Monday morning, presented a contract with W.B.I. of Kingwood, Texas, to rent a belt press for one month for $5,800. Additional charges are $1,750 for two-day setup and training of district staff to use it and $2,500 transportation charge.
The district will also have to pay for the polymer solution used in processing the sludge, at about $1,500, Schrader said.
When asked when processing of sludge would have to be done again, Schrader said it was a hard question to answer because of the "basis of the sludge" and didn't know whether it would have to be every year or every other year. Weather is also a factor, he acknowledged.
"We don't know how long we can continue to use the sludge drying beds," he said. He said if he had been superintendent when the new wastewater treatment plant was being built, he "would have gotten something besides drying beds." A belt press can do in four to five hours what it takes drying beds two weeks to accomplish, he said.
Commissioner Bruce Larson, who brought up concerns about proper bidding and contract procedure at Thursday's meeting, expressed concerns again Monday about "administratively going down this track." He noted three quotes are required for a purchased service of more than $500 and bids for anything over $10,000, with one exception, if a situation is "unforeseen and unavoidable." He didn't agree that it was either. He expressed concerns about lawsuits and penalties if the process is not properly carried out.
Property owner David Blackford said that based on his own experience as a civil engineer who wrote sludge management plans, "If you don't solve your emergency immediately, you will violate your permit. That is your real emergency."
The board approved contracting with W.B.I. but noted it would like quotes from more vendors and perhaps vendors closer to the district in the future. Ken Brown called for this kind of expenditure to be in the 2013 budget and every budget after that.
Also on Thursday, the board retired to executive session, during which they interviewed a candidate for the district manager position, but returned and took no action. Monday's special meeting also included an executive session, but again the board took no action.