City's DNR fine reduced
The city of Humboldt could use a bit of good news and received it from an unlikely source Monday, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
In a letter dated May 1, the DNR agreed to revise its administrative consent order issued April 4, which levied a $10,000 fine on the city for Humboldt’s failure to meet surface water treatment rule requirements.
Under the revision, the city agrees to have the nearly $7 million upgrade of the city’s municipal water treatment plant completed by June 1. The city would also agree to pay a $2,000 administrative penalty. In lieu of the penalty, the city could pay the $2,000 to a Supplemental Environmental Project to the Humboldt County Conservation Board.
In light of the recent transfer of trumpeter swans raised in Humboldt to other Iowa locations, Humboldt City Administrator Aaron Burnett suggested the $2,000 be used for development of trumpeter swan nesting habitat here in Humboldt County. The project would need to be approved by both the DNR and the Humboldt County Conservation Board.
The city had issues with the DNR’s criteria for identifying groundwater under the direct influence of surface water.
City Administrator Burnett explained the city’s position.
“The city has been working diligently to get the water plant completed and operating with the new system. In the process to ensure that the citizens of Humboldt have reliable, safe and clean drinking water, the DNR has tried to say that we haven’t complied with the process to fit an arbitrary 18-month completion schedule.
“The fact is, doing a water plant renovation is very tedious. It’s very important that we make sure that every piece of process equipment works and works correctly, so we don’t have to issue a boil order, which would not only inconvenience citizens, it could cause some of our industries to shut down and could cut off our fire protection,” Burnett said.