A public hearing about an estimated $2.7 million Wastewater Plant improvement project was approved by Knox City Council members and added to the agenda during their meeting Tuesday evening.
As a part of the public hearing, Engineers Chirag Patel and Josh Weaver from the company Jones Petrie and Rafinski delivered an overview of the project. For the past several months, JPR has been commissioned by the city to run a preliminary engineering report and environmental report at the Wastewater Plant to review any needed upgrades and improvements and ensure that no environmental damage will be done by the proposed project.
The improvements are focused on head-works, screening, clarifiers and some electrical and aeration equipment. Patel told the board that steps have been taken to potentially receive assistance for this project, “The considered improvement report was developed and has been submitted actually to the USDA of Rural Development for funding consideration and basically we’re waiting on the federal government to determine what kind of grant loan program they will be committing to the city, if any.”
During the public comment section of the hearing, the engineers were asked to elaborate on why these upgrades are needed. According to Patel, the way the plant is currently set up, grit and debris is exposed to the pumps prior to the screening system causing the pumps to wear down more quickly and the screens themselves are more than 20 years old and have been rusted by the highly corrosive wastewater.
The proposed project will implement an entirely new building where water will be mechanically filtered prior to entering the system, eliminating the need for wastewater employees to manually deal with these issues. Knox Wastewater Superintendent Kelly Clemons said this project would save a significant amount of time seeing as they currently spend approximately 4 weeks each year dealing with these filtration problems firsthand.
Citizens are free to view more details about this project at any time by contacting Clerk- Treasurer Jeff Houston.