Contractors may be hiring soon

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Designs for the $13 million expansion and other improvements to Lewisburg's sewage treatment plant have been approved by state environmentalists and a construction schedule has been issued.

The long-anticipated project is important to the city because it will increase the availability of sewer taps, thereby permitting growth. Expansion is also to protect the environment from wastewater overflows.

Perhaps of greater interest to residents of a county where the unemployment rate is 16 percent, the contractor who lands the job will be required to pay workers in compliance with the Davis Bacon Federal Wage Rate Statutes. The number of new, albeit temporary, construction jobs is to be determined by the contractor.

Contractor bids for the work are to be opened in about seven weeks, according to Kenneth Carr, superintendent of the city's Water and Wastewater Department.

Project Engineer Greg Davenport of the utility's consulting engineering firm, J.R. Wauford and Co., Nashville, was advised last week that the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has approved expansion plans for the treatment plant, Carr said.

Also last week, the Tennessee State Revolving Fund pool of money administered by TDEC announced that Lewisburg is authorized to borrow up to $12 million at an interest rate of 2.43 percent, Carr said. The loan is for 20 years. Money paid back to the SRF becomes available for another loan to other cities and counties.

Lewisburg's sewage treatment plant currently processes up to three million gallons of sewage before a federally approved swirl device is used to remove solids before excess wastewater is released. The expansion project is to double the capacity of the plant.

The project will also include a 10-million-gallon holding tank that will allow delayed treatment if flows exceed capacity. That usually happens when rain increases ground water that seeps into pipes, thereby diluting sewage, but increasing flows.

Plant improvements are to include sludge processing so sludge can be put on anything that needs fertilizer, Carr said.