Construction jobs opening in Lewisburg

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The contractor hired by Lewisburg to expand the capacity of its sewage treatment plant anticipates a workforce of up to 20 people and many of them could be from the local workforce.

That's how Greg Dills sees it. He's the division manager who's leading the water and wastewater treatment group of Choate Construction Co. Dills spoke recently from his office in Atlanta, Ga., one of five Choate offices in the Southeast.

"I know we will be hiring local employees to be part of Choate's team," Dills said in a telephone interview recently. "Apply at the job site. We'll have an office there."

The job site is the city's wastewater plant at 401 Woodside Ave., next to the Animal Shelter. Choate, not the city, will make hiring decisions.

On Monday, Kent Sweeton, the lab supervisor at the plant, was unaware of an exact groundbreaking date for the $11,280,000 expansion project, but he noted Choate has already brought a bulldozer to the site.

Another part of the project includes construction of a 10-million-gallon holding tank, but it's not part of Choate's contract. The Crom Corp. of Gainesville, Fla., is to build the tank.

"I expect Choate's peak work force will probably be 20 individuals," Dills continued.

Laborers will be needed as well as skilled tradesmen including "various concrete folks, pipe layers, general and skilled laborers such as carpenters," Dills said.

Sweeton said he believes that carpenters and electricians may have already been selected.

Some may be hired by subcontractors.

"We expect to break ground sometime in early August," Dills said.

That's consistent with Sweeton's anticipation on when work will begin.

"The job duration is probably 14-16 months," Dills said.

The work area "is all confined within the current fenced limits," he said.

Meanwhile, Dills confirmed information from the city's Water and Wastewater Department that Lewisburg Heating and Air is the HVAC contractor for the job.

"We committed to using them," Dills said. "Ready Mix Suppliers will deliver concrete from their trucks and then Choate employees will finish it."

The electrical subcontractor is Faith Technologies of Atlanta.

"This is a good-sized job for us," Dills said. "It's one we targeted and one that we went after aggressively. We are very pleased to be there and have heard good things about the city and the engineer" retained by the city's utility.

"There will be some other opportunities as we get into the job," he said when asked to elaborate about employment opportunities. "A large portion of the job is the sludge processing equipment and facilities."

Expansion of the plant's capacity comes with a different way of disposing of solids removed from the wastewater as it's received at the plant. Instead of having trucks haul away thick liquid in tanks, there will a process that produces what's called sludge cake.

"It's far drier than sludge," Dills said. "They're taking sludge and running it through a rotary press to take out a considerable amount of water. We will be installing a sludge-processing unit combining high heat and lime to produce a drier cake."

The cake may be disposed of at a landfill, he said, adding that, "To my knowledge it does not require a permitted landfill." That's in contrast with "Class A Sludge" which is frequently spread across fields.

Asked if sludge cake may be applied to a farm field, Dills replied, "I've seen that done on other projects to where they had similar facilities where they had a Class A Sludge.

Choate Construction works on many other kinds of projects from assisted living centers and dormitories to office buildings.

"Water and wastewater is a part of our portfolio," Dills said. "The company has been around for 23 years. It was incorporated in 1989."