10/22/2019- Menominee’s wastewater biosolid disposal method was the subject of some scrutiny last night as the City Council reviewed a contract to continue with the same land spreading operations it has relied on since the 1930s. Several residents spoke out during public comment urging the city to instead consider incinerating the matter versus applying to area agricultural fields to avoid any potential contamination issues, particularly in light of the PFAS-related concerns in Marinette County. Mike Thorsen is Menominee’s Water and Wastewater Plants Superintendent and says the approximately 700-thousand gallons of sludge is tested under EGLE standards for various metals and chemicals, including PFAS, before it’s spread. However, Council member Frank Pohlmann says just because this is how the city has historically done business doesn’t mean it’s the best option.
“Weather-related events are predicted to become significantly more severe and more numerous, so all the habits this community has from the past might be subject to review.”
Incinerating the biosolids is a much more costly process and while Council member Doug Robinson agrees it may be time to consider a new approach, that sort of decision requires more time and research.
“From a fiduciary responsibility, you can’t change overnight. There’s no way to come up with that kind of money, to create it in our budget to switch to something that quick.”
City Council approved the biosolid land application agreement with Michigan Environs on a 7 to 2 vote. The discussion of whether to make the switch to incineration in the future is expected to be taken up at the committee level in the coming months.