A ribbon cutting ceremony was held today (Thursday) in Atlantic, for the new, nearly $12.3-million wastewater treatment plant. City Administrator Doug Harris said plans to replace the old wastewater treatment plant began in 2006.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Supervisor Mark Farrier talks about the new facility at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Thu., Nov. 15th 2012 (Ric Hanson-photo)
The City elected to replace the plant, rather than offer a piece-meal approach to repairs, after it was determined the current, nearly 70-year old facility could not handle a significant storm water run-off, and, because the D-N-R had required the city to build a million-gallon retention basin, or lagoon.
Mayor Dave Jones said the decision to build a new waste water treatment plant didn’t not come easy, but it became clear after much discussion, that building a new storm water detention pond wasn’t the solution to run-off into the river, and because the aging plant wasn’t capable of meeting the demands of the future. Doug Harris said the timing of the project was important, because of the grant funds that became available from the State The City received an “I-Jobs” forgivable loan award in the form of a $2-million grant, and a State Revolving Fund low-interest loan.
The citizens and businesses also are helping to pay for the plant through increased sewer and water bills. Phase One of the plant was completed in May 2012. Phase Two was essentially completed in September. The plant is fully functional. Harris said the project helped to stimulate the local economy, with construction crews staying in town, and through the use local contractors who aided in the completion of the project.
Wastewater Superintendent Mark Farrier was hired to run the plant. Farrier said the facility is a major leap forward from the old plant, and is fully contained so that no effluent is discharged in the nearby river. He said the plant can handle higher storm water flows without putting the City in violation of DNR and EPA rules and regulations. Peak flow capacity for the facility is 15-million gallons per day.
In addition to the hiring of Fox Engineering Associates, Incorporated as the designers of the plant, the City had approved Hawkins Construction Company, from Omaha, as company responsible for its construction.