Fixing the big stink
The City’s sewer treatment plant (located along the Sterling Highway at the bottom of Heath Street) is experiencing operational difficulties that have resulted in a greater-than-normal amount of odor being generated from the sludge lagoon.
The level of odor leaving the site is unacceptable, and plant operators are adjusting treatment procedures to reduce impacts to adjacent properties. The lagoon historically produces some odor in the spring, but this year’s levels are higher.
With adjustments to the treatment process and the normal reductions in odor anticipated after complete lagoon “turnover,” Public Works expects this situation to be temporary. In addition to the current measures being taken, a permanent solution is being designed to eliminate future spring odor problems.
This situation is partially due to the city’s attempt to reduce energy costs and partially due to the slow recovery from damage to plant biology created by the flooding of the plant late this winter. Public works is working to solve this problem as quickly as possible and implement procedures that reduce the potential for this unacceptable situation to occur in the future.
Bring on the birding
Kachemak Bay Birders are offering a birding trip to the Wynn Nature Center (1.5 miles East Skyline Drive) on Saturday, June 8.
Interested birders should meet in the parking lot at 8:30 a.m. Bring binoculars and be prepared for mud and possibly some mosquitoes. Everyone is welcome and there is no charge. Donations can be made to the Wynn Nature Center if you wish. All trips are co-sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Birders and the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. For more information, contact trip leader Michael Craig at 235-0631.
Interior energy project signed into law
Continuing his commitment to lower Alaskans’ energy costs, Governor Sean Parnell signed Senate Bill 23 into law. This legislation will put a $362.5 million financing package in place for natural gas liquefaction on the North Slope and a distribution system.
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority can now offer up to $275 million in low-interest financing for a natural gas liquefaction plant and a liquefied natural gas distribution system within the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Additionally, $57.5 million in capital funding has been appropriated and $30 million in storage credits are available to advance the project to provide energy relief to the Interior.
“The Interior Energy Plan now becomes the Interior Energy Project,” Governor Parnell said. “Alaska is investing in Alaska for the benefit of Alaskans. We will make sure this project is completed with a full-court press for Fairbanks and the Interior.
Senate Bill 23 is the main component of Governor Parnell’s Interior Energy Plan to provide affordable gas to Interior and rural Alaskans. This comprehensive strategy includes low interest loans, gas storage tax credits, and general fund dollars for a moveable liquefaction plant and distribution system.
Helping families achieve homeownership
Throughout the month of June, USDA will celebrate National Homeownership Month with a renewed commitment to providing safe, affordable housing in small towns and rural communities.
Under the Obama Administration, USDA has helped more than 650,000 American families achieve the dream of homeownership. New steps have been taken to help families hit especially hard during the recession. USDA created a new initiative – the Rural Refinance Pilot Program – that has helped more than 5,500 homeowners refinance their mortgage at lower rates. Earlier this year, USDA expanded this initiative from 19 to 34 states in an effort to provide assistance for more families.
USDA’s record work to provide rural housing assistance is just one part of the Obama Administration’s comprehensive plan to revitalize the rural economy. This month Congress will be encouraged to get a multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done to support our efforts. This is important because a wide range of 2008 Farm Bill programs that provide assistance to rural America will expire this September. A long-term, comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is critical for USDA’s efforts to create new opportunity in rural areas.
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