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Heavy-duty sewer discharges from two Wilton industries have drawn a response from the city council.

The council Monday night voted unanimously to bring a city ordinance to bear on Hy-Line North America if an agreement about sewer discharges can't be reached in 30 days and to cut off the heavy-duty sanitary sewer discharge line from the Vitalix plant.

Andrew Marsh from Cedar Rapids-based HR Green Engineering said Vitalix, which cooks molasses for the production of animal food supplements, has been in violation of an agreement to avoid discharging heavy-duty sewage during construction of the new Wastewater Treatment Plant. He added Vitalix also discharged waste to the storm sewer system.

"We reported that incident to the DNR and notified city staff," said Marsh. "I think everyone would like to protect the city's infrastructure and have it last a long time."

Council action to cut off heavy-duty discharge from Vitalix will not impair normal discharge from the plant. City Administrator Chris Ball said the heavy discharge from Vitalix was almost straight molasses.

"The size of a town we are, we just can't take it," said Ball. "DNR is having a meeting with them, in addition to whatever we do."

"Everything Chris said is absolutely correct," Marsh said. "It's not good for the plant."

Vitalix has a history of complaints from the public, most often because of offensive odors from their production plant.

"They seem to be very nice people, but they continue to do things that aren't right," Mayor Bob Barrett commented.

The Hy-Line plant hatches thousands of chicks which are delivered to egg-producing industries. Marsh said Hy-Line wants an agreement to discharge heavy-duty sewage, but talks have broken down because of legal language.

"Those talks have recently come to an impasse," Marsh said. "They have basically said they won't sign the agreement as worded."

Marsh recommended using the force of existing ordinance to make Hy-Line pay for testing and treatment of their heavy-duty discharge.

"It might get Hy-Line back to the table to discuss signing the agreement," Marsh said. "It will pay their share in the interim."

"They need to be a little more cooperative," Barrett added. "They need us more than we need them."

Council approval in both cases was 4-0 with Council Member Wayne Budding absent.

Reading garden

Further planning for a reading garden adjacent to Wilton's public library will take place, provided funding for the project is identified. The council approved proceeding with planning, subject to funding.

Library Board President Tony Hurd reported the Townsend Foundation has already spent $7,200 on early plans and is willing to pay for the project, provided the city signs the contract. "Everybody understands the city is not going to pay for it," Hurd said.

The project is roughly estimated at $200,000.

"It depends how the bidding comes out," said Hurd.

In other business

  • Ball announced the council will tour the new Wastewater Treatment Plant at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, followed by a public open house at 5:30 p.m.
  • The council approved a bid of $28,259 from Krieger Motors of Muscatine for purchase of a 2020 Chevy Colorado pickup for administrative use. Plans call for the current admin pickup, a 2012 GMC Canyon, to go to the Water/Sewer Department to replace a 2009 Ford F350 to be sold.
  • It was announced a reception will be held 4-5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at the Wilton Bank Community Room for Eva Belitz, who is retiring after serving 42 years with the Wilton Chamber of Commerce.

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