Work continues on the city’s new $15 million wastewater treatment plant north of the city on County Road 324 expected to be ready for operation late this summer around August.
The new plant is expected to rid the downtown park and sportsplex areas of an odor nuisance and give the city more capability for potential industrial expansion.
As the area around the present 92-acre plant site off Chickasaw Drive was developed, its odor became more of a factor. The proximity of the park, tennis complex and soccer fields are particularly problematic. Also, the city is simply outgrowing it.
Mayor Tim Kent said earlier that the present plant could be rehabilitated but it would cost at least $5 million and still probably would need expansion before long.
The new plant will be paid for using a $14.1 million grant and loan program from the U. S. Department of Agriculture. The package includes a $6,214,000 grant as well as a $7,886,000 loan that will be paid back through revenue bonds and, indirectly, user fees.
The present facility will be replaced by a large pump that will send wastewater to the new plant and this should almost completely eradicate any odor problem the plant has now. One pool may be kept for emergency use, if needed.
Once the present plant is decommissioned the remaining sludge and material will have to be trucked to a special site. There has been no real public discussion as to what the area might possibly be used for in coming years.