The Mexico City Council on Monday discussed the hazard mitigation plan it will submit through the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments, which first sought public input on the plan in December.

Hazard mitigation plans are developed to prepare for and hopefully reduce the impacts of a natural disaster. Mexico and Audrain County are among almost 1,000 cities and 114 counties that are required to have a hazard mitigation plan, which is updated every five years.

Hazard mitigation is a major topic at the state and federal level, Mexico Public Works Director Kensey Russell said.

The plan covers the entire county, including Mexico, so the city is required to adopt the final hazard mitigation plan that will be submitted to the council of governments. The council will then submit the plan to the state’s emergency management agency. “That keeps us in good standing if a disaster does occur as far as being able to be reimbursed from disaster funds,” Russell said.

Plans can include outdoor tornado sirens or Federal Emergency Management Agency flood insurance, he said.

“This plan basically updates our activities in regard to natural disasters and to a lesser extent, man-made disasters,” Russell said.

He recommended the council adopt the update plan since city staff helped with updates.

The council approved adoption of the updated hazard mitigation plan.

Re-evaluating wastewater

The city of Mexico has a general engineering services contract with Horner and Shifrin of St. Louis, an agency that has worked on the city’s wastewater treatment facility for many years, Russell said.

The council considered entering a task order with the engineering contractor due to federal regulations. “We have to reapply for our wastewater discharge permit,” Russell said.

Requirements used to be every five years with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, he said. The city’s current permit is for three years, and its reissuance triggered the federal need for a review for the permit limits under the industrial pretreatment program.

Industrial and manufacturing organizations have discharge permits separate from the city wastewater permits. The industrial permit regulates pollutants related to an industrial manufacturer and sets limits on what can be put into city sewers for treatment at the city’s wastewater treatment facility. So, if an industrial facility has more pollutants than is allowed in their potential discharge, that industry must pretreat their discharge to bring it within permitted levels before it goes into city sewers.

The city also has to analyze how much discharge the wastewater treatment facility can handle from industrial and residential areas within its own natural resources operating permit. Pollutants can include metals, organic material and suspended solids, such as toilet waste.

The review is done in two steps, the first of which is a limited review. The cost of the review will be no more than $9,100. The city does not have to conduct any further review if the first review is successful. If the limited review must be expanded into a technical review, that second stage will cost up to $18,550.

“The limited review looks at the limits for continued applicability. The technical evaluation would re-calculate everything,” Russell said.

A limited review looks at what each permit allows — industry and city, the total amount of pollutant going to the treatment plant and checks to see if the existing allowed limits are enough. If there is a significant change to what it coming to the treatment plant, then the city will have to do the technical review.

“We’ve basically split the scope of this into two pieces,” Russell said. “We’ll do the first part, submit it and hopefully not have to the second part. If we do, this task order would cover it.”

The task order was approved by the council.