Knox City Council Holds Hearing Over Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project

Knox City Council members held a public hearing and considered two resolutions related to the proposed improvement project at the Wastewater Treatment Plant when they met this week.

At the start of Tuesday’s hearing, KIRPC Community Development Planner Emily Albaugh reminded those in attendance that the City of Knox is applying for OCRA’s Wastewater Drinking Water grant. The grant would be worth $600,000 and the city would need to supply a $1.3 million match to cover the cost of the remainder of the project. Albaugh said the match will be funded with bonds and some cash on hand.

KIRPC is working with city officials as the grant administrators for this project. Albaugh said the deadline to submit is Friday, July 20th and the award announcement will take place on Thursday, August 23rd.

Engineer Josh Weaver from the company Jones, Petrie and Rafinski (JPR) provided an overview of the project. He stated that the main goal will be relocating and reconstructing the head works upstream of the plant lift station.

He indicated that the way the plant is currently set up the pumps, clarifiers and aeration tanks are continuously exposed to grit which is causing those mechanical components in the system to wear down more quickly.

Weaver said with the proposed project, the head works will be reconstructed so that water will be mechanically filtered to better eliminate the grit before it enters the system. Damaged equipment that is no longer serviceable will also be replaced.

Once the hearing was adjourned, city council members considered two resolutions related to the project. One resolution authorized the submission of OCRA grant application and verified that the city will provide a local match.

The other resolution established that the match for the wastewater system improvements will be paid with bonds. Both resolutions were passed unanimously.

Mayor Dennis Estok mentioned that the bonds will be paid back with a portion of the money received from utility bills. Estok stated that the current utility rates are sufficient and will not need to be raised at all. Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston added that the debt limit and tax levy will not be impacted by the bonding.