$61 million water plant upgrade ahead of schedule

Upgrades to the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant are moving ahead of schedule.

The city’s $61.4 million addition to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, federally mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency, is approximately 12 percent complete, according to city service director Chris Moore.

Moore discussed the project — believed to be the largest public works project in the city’s history — at the city’s annual retreat at the city service center on Saturday.

Construction began last September on a new high-rate clarifier, located behind the Wastewater Treatment Plant, 965 Dayton Ave. It will control sewer overflows during heavy rainfalls as mandated by the EPA.

The project is 19 days ahead of schedule for the clarifier, which is about the size of a football field. It’s expected to be complete in October of 2014.

Approximately 200 of the 2,000 truckloads of concrete have been poured by local company Ernst Concrete thus far, Moore said. The city is also using local company Midwest Reinforcing to purchase 1.3 million pounds of rebar to be used throughout the construction process.

Kokosing Corp. of Delaware was awarded a $50.1 million bid to construct the clarifier. Another $11.3 million has been spent on both design work and other construction services.

The clarifier is being built to comply with the EPA’s Clean Water Act. The project is being funded through an increase in sewer rates — a 4-percent increase each year through 2014, approved last July — and the new stormwater utility.

Twenty-six dewatering wells are being used to keep groundwater out of the site, pumping out about 13 million to 14 million gallons of water per day. Moore said he hasn’t heard any complaints about the pumping affected local wells nearby.

The wastewater treatment plant currently treats 15 million gallons of sewage per day with the capacity to treat 34 million gallons per day. When a large storm hits, the raw sewage floods into the Mad River. The clarifier will allow for the overflow to be captured and treated.

Tours at the wastewater treatment plant are being suspended for safety concerns until work is completed, Moore said.

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