City’s $61.5 million upgrade likely to be completed next year

Springfield wastewater project approximately 68 percent completed.

The new high-rate clarifier, federally mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency, is approximately 68 percent complete and eight days ahead of schedule, according to city service director Chris Moore.

Construction began September 2012 on the project, which is located behind the Wastewater Treatment Plant, 965 Dayton Ave. The equipment will control sewer overflows during storm events.

It’s believed to be the largest public works project in the city’s history. The project was discussed as part of Saturday’s annual retreat at the city service center. Commissioners will likely tour the facility sometime in the coming months.

At last year’s retreat, the project was 12 percent complete and 19 days ahead of schedule.

“They lost some days because of the cold weather,” Moore said.

Moore said the current change order rate for the project is approximately .55 percent. The national average on similar projects is four percent, Moore said, and other communities budget approximately 10 percent. A change order when something is added or removed from the scope of a contract, which then increases or reduces the contract amount and completion date.

“We’re headed down a good path of that project, even though it’s terribly expensive, the energy that was put into the design has paid off to get a good finished product,” Moore said.

Approximately 2,200 truckloads of concrete have been poured by a local company, Ernst Concrete, thus far and is nearly completed, Moore said.

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 the stormwater utility and an increase in sewer rates — a 4-percent increase each year through this year, approved July 2012.

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. Up to this point, they’ve pumped 5.66 billion gallons of water, the equivalent of 2,800 of the Main Street Water Tower, Moore said.

“It’s an amazing operation,” Moore said. “It’s almost like they’re pumping Mad River around their operation.”

The wastewater treatment plant currently treats 40 million gallons of water per day. When a large storm hits, raw sewage floods into the Mad River. The clarifier will allow for the overflow to be captured and treated.

They’re expected to start testing in September and have the clarifier operating by Jan. 1. The clarifier will also be monitored throughout 2015 to make sure it’s working efficiently.

Moore said the city will likely hold an open house next year for those who’d like to view the project once it’s completed.

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