Archive for Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Work progressing on city’s new sewer plant

December 1, 2004

Tonganoxie's new sewage treatment plant, under construction in the eastern part of the city, is nearing completion.

In fact, the plant -- which contractors originally estimated would be up and running by March -- could be complete by the first of the year.

"The job has gone well," said Dick Passow, project manager for Topeka's BRB Construction, which is doing the upgrade.

"We have one major concrete pour left, for an area of about 50 to 60 yards, on the other side of the tank. It will pave the way for the entrance into the facility. We hope to have that completed, the concrete pour, in a month."

In addition to the final concrete pour, the final grading, seeding, and gravel will need to be completed, as will the electrical work, and the tie-in of the incoming flow to the lift station of the plant.

The need for a new sewage-treatment plant became apparent when the city was in the process of renewing its discharge permit. Regulators have set new ammonia limits, nitrate limits, disinfection standards and, possibly, new phosphorous limits that systems must meet.

"Those new regulations, and the increased growth rate in Tonganoxie, just made the new plant a necessity," said Kent Heskett, superintendent of the wastewater plant.

The existing sewage-treatment plant was built in 1978 and had the capacity to process 400,000 gallons of waste a day.

Plants are built with a projected life rate of approximately 20 years.

In addition to the new regulations being placed on plants, another factor in deciding to construct a new plant was that parts for the existing plant were becoming increasingly difficult to find.

The new sewage plant will have the capacity to process 750,000 gallons of waste a day.

Heskett credits City Administrator Shane Krull with the tenacity for obtaining the funding for the project. In total, the estimates for the new sewage plant are at $4.2 million.

Construction costs of materials and labor start at $2.4 million. An additional amount of $924,000 was spent to purchase the majority of the equipment needed for the project.

"The Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing granted us $400,000 from their block grant program," Krull said. "The other $3.8 million was made available through the wastewater reconstruction loan fund, from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

"It subsidizes the interest rate with money from the federal government for wastewater improvement projects."

Krull said those are the current estimates for the new sewage plant. The final costs will not be finalized until the end of the project. At that time, the city will have 20 years to pay back the loan, at an interest rate of 3.08 percent.

-- Amy Buster, a Tonganoxie free-lance writer, can be contacted by calling The Mirror office, (913) 845-2222.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.