BUTLER — Utilities dominated the discussion at the June 3 Butler City Council meeting.
City officials are still working to figure out the cause of a failed Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) test, Public Works Manager Dan Hudson said.
The Environmental Protection Agency uses WET tests in administering discharge permits, water quality and compliance assessments. The tests measure the effects of discharge on sensitive species, including the ceriodaphnia dubia (freshwater flea) and pimephaels promelas (fathead minnow).
The presence and breeding of water fleas — that larger fish use for feed — is a sign of a healthy waterway. Butler’s wastewater plant discharges into Big Run Creek which eventually feeds into the St. Joseph River.
“We know something is killing those bugs, we just don’t know what,” said Wastewater Superintendent Brian Moore June 4. “It could be one thing or a combination of things.”
In 2008, Butler’s discharge showed another toxicity issue. That problem was traced to chlorides used by some industries that tap into the sewer system, he explained. Those industries changed their processes and the situation was fixed.
This issue was first discovered in October, and city officials have up to three years to determine a cause. While it isn’t known what is killing off the water fleas, Moore said chlorides are not responsible this time.
City officials are making regular reports to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
The May 18 electronics recycling day cost the City of Butler $1,200, which was a good investment considering the amount of mercury that was kept out of landfills, Moore said.
The Northeast Indiana Solid Waste Management District will not do a household hazardous waste collection day in Butler, but Moore said residents are welcome to take items for a fee to the facility at 2320 West, 800 South (old S.R. 4), east of Ashley off Interstate 69. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Moore said he is also looking into other options for household hazardous waste collection.
Street Superintendent Frank Thomas gave an update on water meter replacement efforts. As of the June 3 meeting, there 51 water meters that can’t be read because they are inside the home of residents. Arrangements need to be made with homeowners to have these replaced with new models.
Not all of the meeting related to utilities.
By two 5-0 votes, the City Council approved a zoning change for the former Butler Police Department property at 101 N. Broadway from neighborhood business to old town residential. The property has been sold to a couple who plan to use the building for residential use as well as office space.
A third reading will take place at a future meeting.
Also by two 5-0 votes, the City Council approved changes to its zoning ordinance to bring it in line with DeKalb County, as the county inspects residential, commercial and industrial projects within the city limits and Butler’s extra-territorial jurisdiction.
The language stipulates that the count requires building permits for most projects, except for above-ground pools, fences, cosmetic improvements, painting, new siding, driveways and storage sheds under 300 square feet as examples.
The changes will be finalized with a third vote at another meeting.
The City Council also approved an inter-local agreement with the county. Butler, Ashley, Corunna, Garrett, St. Joe and Waterloo are all signatories to the agreement that includes building inspections and penalties for building permit violations.
The City Council took no action on a proposed inter-local agreement with the Town of Waterloo to use Butler City Court to hear ordinance violations.
The council approved 2018 continuing disclosure on three bond issues. The action gives a report as to bond status, including length of term. In another bond discussion, the council opted to use an Indiana Bond Bank option to apply savings over the remaining term of a water utility bond issued in 2006. The final payment of that bond is due in January 2027.
In other business, Hudson said 10 plots have been reserved in the Butler Community Garden at Hendrickson Park along Federal Street.
Butler’s Board of Works approved a $24,559.99 bid from Axon Enterprise of Scottsdale, Arizona for seven new Tasers for the Butler Police Department.
The Tasers would be paid for over a five-year period at $4,399.95 the first year and $5,040 per year the last four years.