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Palmer struggles to attain lower ammonia levels

Posted: Monday, January 30, 2012 9:03 pm
By Rindi White For the Frontiersman | 0 comments

PALMER - Wind damage early this winter rumpled the black, insulated plastic coverings over two Palmer Wastewater Treatment Plant lagoons and city workers say fixing the covers is not possible until the weather warms.

The covers, which cost $1.2 million and were........

......The covers and blowers have helped cut the city's ammonia levels in half, Berberich said by email. The city is investigating how to install another tool - an ammonia reactor, or large pad that gives bacteria a lot of surface area to break the ammonia down. It's not yet clear how much a reactor will cost or which type of reactor will be most useful for the city.

Meanwhile, Hulbert took another approach: is the ammonia hurting salmon? He and volunteers (mostly his family) have counted spawning salmon in the unnamed stream and three others nearby since 2008. They found the stream has a greater salmon escapement count than the popular fishing stream Wasilla Creek. Nearly 1/3 of all the salmon that return to the Matanuska River spawn in the tiny creek, Hulbert said.

Hulbert and his family also observed caged and free swimming salmon fry in the effluent mixing zone and elsewhere in the creek.

"Fry preferred the mixing zone and .....