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Final phase at wastewaster treatment plant begins

KEITH HERNANDEZ khernandez@shawmedia.comMay 22, 2019

SYCAMORE – Construction in the final phase of the wastewater treatment facility expansion is underway after minor delays because of rain.

Matt Anderson, wastewater treatment facility superintendent, said Leander Construction has started to excavate the area where four sequencing batch reactors will sit, but the last couple of week’s rainstorms have delayed the project by about a week. The project has a planned completion date of October 2020.

The sequence batch reactors will take the place of two systems in the waste treatment plant, creating a more streamlined and energy-efficient process. However, the plant may not have to use all four tanks at once, Anderson said.

“The SBRs perform the function of those processes all in one tank,” Anderson said. “And they’ll be very large.”

The 40-year-old plant will be able to pump wastewater at a greater capacity with the addition of the four tanks. The current daily average flow is 2.97 million gallons a day, and with the four waste water tanks installed, it will be 4.99 million gallons.

The current designed max flow is 7 million gallons a day, and the new max flow will be 12.4 million gallons, Anderson said.

Other changes the plant will undertake will be the replacement of the chlorine system that disinfects the water. The plant will use ultraviolet light disinfection instead, streamlining the treatment process even further.

“We had chlorine to kill the fecal bacteria, but then we want to dechlorinate that so we’re not sending chlorinated water to the river,” Anderson said. “So we’re adding two chemicals, where with UV, there’s no chemicals.”

The project is funded in large part by a $20 million Environmental Protection Agency loan, with debt payments to be about $1.1 million annually, City Manager Brian Gregory said. The city also contributed $7 million from the Sewer Fund reserve and the Sewer Impact Fee Fund.

The first two phases of the project included the upgrading of equipment and installation of the chlorine disinfectant system, a process that began in 2009. Rates increased for residents by 16% until May 2017, but an additional increase was not needed for the third phase of the project, Gregory said.

The City Council amended the fiscal 2019 budget Monday to reflect the beginning of the construction in April, adding $1.5 million in funds from the EPA to the budget.

“I just wanted to make sure we’re accurately portraying it,” Gregory said at the meeting.

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