City Council gets update on water treatment plant

By Nick Kovatch on October 16 at 7:18am

Jacksonville aldermen were brought up to date on plans to build a new water treatment plant at last night’s City Council meeting.

The Illinois EPA demanded the city to either upgrade the existing water treatment plant or build a new one after the existing facility was heavily damaged by floodwater in 2011. City Council decided to build a new $30 million plant about a year ago.

Jamie Headen is vice president of Benton and Associates. He says the city is in the process of purchasing all the necessary property at the northeast corner of Hardin and Superior. He adds the company is in the midst of the conceptual design phase which includes the layout of the plant and design criteria, and soon they’ll begin the facility plan.

“One of the things that we need to work on, really at the same time of design, is the facility planning process,” says Headen. “The plan that allows the funding agencies to look at what the city wants to do and allow the funding to happen for the project.”

Headen says the city may be able to use Illinois EPA SRF low-interest loans for the entire project. Interest rates are currently running at about two percent. He says the facility plan may take up to six months to complete.

Headen says work also needs to be done to the infrastructure that brings water to the treatment plant.

“The city has two water sources: a well water source near the Illinois River and a lake source,” says Headen. “The majority of the water comes from the well source and the wells that are down there. We need to get some check valves fixed down there, and invest in a surge suppression system to allow additional pumping to occur and minimize the hydraulic transients of that line to protect the line for the future. It’s been in good shape since 1955 and we want it to continue for a good number of years there.”

He says the city should expect to go out for bids sometime in January 2015, with construction to begin in March of 2015.

He says the current water plant complies with current regulations, but new unfunded mandates by the EPA make building the new plant challenging.

“We’re trying to take into account today’s regulations and then also the future regulations that are being promulgated by the U.S. EPA in discussions in Washington right now,” says Headen. “Things that they’re looking at as far as new constituents to test for that aren’t currently tested for now at the treatment plant that might be coming down the road.”

The project is estimated to be complete by June of 2016.