by Ivan Foley
When it comes to its septic system operation and water pollution regulations, Shiloh Springs, the county-owned golf course east of Platte City, has a near decade-long history of failure to comply with requirements set by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The Landmark has viewed documentation of several letters of warning and notification from the DNR to county officials regarding failure to comply with regulations and reporting requirements in regard to its septic system. The documented deficiencies viewed by The Landmark go back as far as 2007.
The facility at Shiloh consists of an extended aeration plant which discharges to a holding pond and land application system. There is a design flow of 900 gallons per day. The receiving stream for the facility is a tributary to Clear Branch.
After years of apparently delaying finding a solution to repeated problems, the county appears ready to take a step toward getting the golf course into compliance with DNR regulations. The solution, it appears, will be to connect the golf course to a public sewer system.
The county commission at a meeting on Monday approved a request for bids to be published. The request will seek bids on connecting Shiloh Springs to the Timber Creek Sewer Company.
Around 1,400 feet of sewer line will need to be installed to make the connection from the clubhouse to the public system line near the entrance to the golf course.
Brian Nowotny, parks director, said bids for the project are due April 19.
Nowotny told The Landmark he anticipates the cost of the project to come in somewhere between $85,000 and $115,000, “depending upon how many bids we receive.”
He said his projected cost includes a $36,000 connection fee to Timber Creek Sewer Company.
Though Nowotny hinted during Monday’s commission meeting that the reason for the connection to public sewer was due to the fact the current 20-year-old septic system had come to the end of its “useful life,” a review of public records indicates the system has been targeted by state inspectors for at least nine years with no solution to the consistent warnings from the state reached by the county in that time period.
Most recently, a routine water pollution compliance inspection of the golf club was conducted May 5 of last year. Based on the finding observed during the inspection, the facility was not in compliance and a list of required actions was given to the county along with a letter of warning.
“Failure to respond to all required actions and return to compliance by Oct. 16, 2015 may result in a notice of violation,” wrote Corinne N. Rosania, environmental manager for the Kansas City Regional Office of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
“The existing system is not in compliance with current state standards. We have been in regular communication with state officials at the DNR and they are giving us additional time to complete the project. Once the connection is complete the existing septic will be removed and the system will be back in compliance,” Nowotny says.
A view of state records shows a lengthy list of notifications the state found with the Shiloh septic system and its operation.
In a letter to the county in September, the DNR reviewed some of the troubles it had found at Shiloh through the years:
•On June 16, 2007, the department found the facility to be in compliance but some deficiencies were identified and required to be addressed. Deficiencies addressed in the report included the need for a fence to be built around the plant and warning signs placed on the fence, and to address the high chlorine levels that had been reported on discharge monitoring reports.
•On June 19, 2013 a notice of violation was issued to the facility for failing to submit the discharge monitoring reports for October 2011 through January 2013.
•On Nov. 27, 2013, a letter of warning was issued to Shiloh for failing to report fecal coliform on the April 2012 discharge monitoring report and other “exceedances.”
•On December 10, 2013 another notice of violation was issued to Shiloh for nine different effluent levels over the acceptable limit.
•On April 10, 2014, a letter of warning was issued for failing to submit the discharge monitoring reports for October 2013 through January 2014.
•On Aug. 4, 2014, a letter of warning was issued to the facility for at least two exceedances of acceptable levels.
•On Feb. 15, 2015 a letter of warning was issued for failing to submit discharge monitoring reports for May 2014 through December 2014.
•The facility was found not to have submitted influent monitoring for the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015. There were also missing discharge monitoring reports for March and April of 2015. Shiloh was also written up for not having an operation and maintenance manual for its system.
The facility was found to be out of compliance with the Missouri Clean Water Law, and the Clean Water Commission regulations.
Nowotny says the connection to public sewer system is the most sensible solution at this point.
“The septic system was originally installed when the course opened in 1995. Since then, regulations for treatment and monitoring have changed to the point that it makes the most sense to connect to the public sewer operated by Timber Creek Sewer Company,” Nowotny said.
He said once the connection is made he expects the monthly sewer usage fee paid to Timber Creek will be less than what the county is currently paying to maintain the existing septic system.
“And we won’t have to worry about any letters from the DNR,” said Beverlee Roper, first district commissioner.
The vote to make the connection to public sewer was unanimous among Roper; Duane Soper, second district commissioner; and Ron Schieber, presiding commissioner.
“We have to operate a septic system. We’ve had to work with DNR. This is a good time to connect,” said Schieber.