UNION — A scheduled $3.25 million upgrade to the city of Union’s wastewater treatment is entering its final stages to bring the plant into compliance with upcoming discharge restrictions by the Ohio EPA.
Union’s wastewater treatment plant discharges to the Stillwater River. Following the planned upgrades City Manager John Applegate believes the city will have zero pollutants entering the river. Applegate also said that it has been his goal for a long time to have a “zero discharge” plant.
Last week workers began pouring concrete for a wall to a circular final clarifier tank.
All of the work should be completed by the end of 2019 or early 2020. Applegate believes it will take another 10 to 12 months to complete all of the work.
The required upgrades will also mean costs for water and sewer service will increase, but Union will still be among the most affordable / lowest cost for these services. Rate increases in water and sewer service are needed to pay for the debt service related to the upgrade project. Sewer rates would increase 15 percent, which equates to a $4 per month increase. Water consumption rates would increase $1.75 per one thousand gallons or 12.9 percent. For 2018 an effective rate increase of 14.7 percent for water and sewer combined took place. A second increase this year amounted to 13 percent effective rate for water and sewer.
“We knew we were going to need to improve our plant,” Applegate said. “We’ve known for years we didn’t have enough aeration capacity and we also knew we needed a bigger and better final clarifier, and we are at that point now.”
In order to save money on the wastewater treatment upgrade the city has performed most of the work itself.
“When it comes to laying the lines, installing the electric and controls, all of that stuff, we do it now. So our goal is to be able to do that like we did back in 1982 with the last upgrade. That is why our rates have been so low and that is why that plant is still operating,” Applegate said. “That will only enhance what we do to the Stillwater River.”
The massive lagoon at the treatment plant was the first in the state of Ohio to be aerated, which took place with the 1982 upgrade. The current upgrade also included construction of a new electrical building to provide service to the existing plant as well as the expansion. A new standby generator was also added at the site as well as two aeration tanks.
Once the project is completed the city plans to hold an open house so residents can see the upgrades and the expansion of the treatment plant.