Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - Updated: 10:50 AM
Marshall County Sanitation District #2’s chairman of the board, Randy Green, said the first phase of the wastewater treatment plant’s rehabilitation project was almost complete and should have the plant in full operation by the middle of this week at the latest. He said plant was on line Friday and the completely renovated and rebuilt UV (ultraviolet light) system, the final step in the treatment process, would be reinstalled and disinfecting the plant’s output by the time this edition published.
The previously troubled sanitation district is required to be in compliance with the Division of Water by July but Green said they’re still well ahead of schedule. He said he had hoped to have the plant in full operation by the end of Dec. 2016 but unforeseen circumstances kept that goal from becoming a reality.
“Everything we touched it seemed like there were two more things that was wrong too so it’s taken longer to get it rebuilt than we projected. But I talked to Lyndall Groves, our plant operator, and probably within 30 days the first phase of our plant rebuild will be done and the plant will be up running fully automated and exactly up to EPA requirements,” he said. “That plant will, for the first time since it’s been there, everything will be right and working like it’s supposed to.”
Green said R&R Piping, which he said has excelled expectations, was finishing up laying pipe last week and that all brand new pumps and blowers had been installed. He said they went as far as completely emptying the tanks, scrubbing them down and “touching all parts making sure everything is new, replaced, strengthened and redone.” There’s one more tank to complete, he said, but they can operate around that without any problem.
“We’ve actually overbuilt the system heavier and more horsepower rated than it required. We’ve overbuilt everything we’ve done because we’re trying to ensure we don’t have to do this again. But we’re still way ahead of schedule,” he said. “For the rebuild of the plant, we’re actually under budget on that to the point that we’ve been able to make improvements in other areas in the district and will be in the future getting new equipment and things to work with that we’ve never had so we can better maintain the system.”
Green said the tractor SD#2 and SD#1 in Aurora bid for that will be jointly owned is one example of equipment they’ve been able to purchase. He said in the coming months the districts will continue to accumulate equipment when possible, which will quickly pay for itself when considering how much they’re saving by not having to subcontract every job that needs to be done and lease equipment for all projects.
Green said another important issue that has been addressed regarding the plant is the computer system by which it operates. He said C-Tech Controls came in to work with the computer system and when the district is able to construct the maintenance building, which is scheduled in the next phase of the rehabilitation project, will move the controls out of a pit where they could be exposed to water and into the maintenance building on higher ground.
Green said the district recently purchased an acre of land that’s connected to its property, which will allow for a “larger footprint” should the need arise in the future for an addition to the plant. He said it also left more space for the maintenance building that will be constructed soon. Likely the final piece to the project will be a security fence, he said.
“As far as fully operational we will be, within the next month, operating better than it ever has before. I look for it to be in total compliance well before the July date,” he said. “We’re not doing just what we were told to do—we’re exceeding that in everything we do. We’re also still working on a plan for the wetland system, a redundant filtration system that’s not even required but would really make a difference for the landowners downstream, which we hope will serve as an olive branch to the customers and neighbors who have been so patient with us as we make these much needed and overdue improvements.”
Green also made one request of customers: “Please do not flush baby wipes. They are NOT biodegradable, no matter what the packaging says; we dug 27, five-gallon buckets-worth out of one of the tanks. We have worked very hard to get this plant in operation. We are doing our part and we are asking you do your part, too.”
In other business, Green said, he wants all future/potential customers to be aware that beginning March 1 the district will have a new tap-on fee. The residential fee will increase from $500 to $750 and the commercial fee will increase from $1,000 to $1,500.