Berryville, Tyson working to tweak system upgrade

Thursday, September 22, 2011

BERRYVILLE -- As new procedures are put into play at the city's wastewater treatment plant, operators there are "tweaking" the system to make it all work.

That was the word from Mayor Tim McKinney, who updated city council members on the system when they met Tuesday evening. The $3 million year-long upgrade was initiated to comply with new state phosphorus standards.

"We've had a few issues lately," McKinney reported. "We've been getting surprises from Tyson."

He was referring to Tyson Foods, which is responsible for 65 percent of the city's wastewater.

McKinney said they are working on improved communication "so we know what's coming down the line."

With advance warning, he said, operators can make adjustments to the new system which relies on a biological process, rather than chemical.

He said the city is also working on drafting an ordinance to replace the current sewer usage agreement. It will have substantial charges for heavy loads coming from all customers, not just Tyson.

Negotiations are under way with Tyson, McKinney said, adding he believes the poultry giant appreciates what the city has done with its plant expansion project "without a major rate increase."

In other business, Alderman Linda Riddlesperger had a number of questions regarding the proposed subdivision regulations ordinance that the council has been asked to approve.

It was prepared by the city's planning and zoning commissioners who had worked on the project for more than a year, adopting many of the recommendations made by Urban Planning Associates, the firm hired by the city to develop a master plan.

"It seems to me they put in a lot of work and study," said Alderman Joel Gibson. "I haven't found anything wrong with it."

Riddlesperger asked for clarification on a number of points and received responses from Jay Lee, the city's administrative assistant who attends all planning commission meetings.

A public hearing held on the proposed ordinance drew zero public response, and the ordinance has been available for review at city hall for some time. The council is expected to pass the ordinance at an upcoming meeting if there are no further questions.

Also at the meeting, Alderman Cindy George suggested the city schedule a limb pickup this autumn, saying "I would like to see us use our chipper and not wait for the next ice storm."

McKinney suggested quarterly limb pickups and setting a size limit per limb pile. He said he'd check with public works and report back to council.

He also reported that two streets that have collapsed in spots will be repaired soon. They are Freeman Switch Road and Jerico Lane.

The council is set to meet again at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Berryville City Hall.

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