City’s New Water Treatment Plant set for completion in the next few months

By Blake Schnitker on July 25 at 6:21am

The city’s new water treatment plant is entering the final stages of construction, and hopes to be completed and operational by year’s end.

Jacksonville city council members received an update report on the new water treatment plant from project engineer Jamie Headen of Benton & Associates. Headen went over the project’s current timeline, as well as how well the project is staying on budget.

Headen explains where the construction of the new water treatment plant is currently at in the process.

“Construction is about 85-90 percent complete right now, we do have a lot of start-ups and work ahead of us here in the next couple months to get to operational. We’re most likely going to be operating the new facility this fall doing a trial period from October through December and then demo of the existing facility in the first quarter of 2018. Then completely move to the new facility and have it operating in the first half of next year,” says Headen.

Benton & Associates also provided Jacksonville aldermen with a look at the overall costs of the project. While the original project budget was estimated at just less than $31 million, certain adjustments to the project during construction cost added approximately $1.7 million, bringing the total construction cost to $32.6 million, and the total cost of the project to $35.5 million.

Adjusting for those additional costs, Headen says the overall budget is where it needs to be.

“The budget is on track. Change orders and items are on track with project completion status, so we figure to be on or just below budget. As far as the loan payment to the EPA, at this point it looks to be a couple hundred thousand dollars lower than was originally intended, so right now the budget looks pretty good,” Headen explains.

The City Council also voted to approve a change order and several amendments regarding the new water treatment plant, as well as the Water Surge Suppression System

Aside from the new water treatment plant, aldermen also discussed raising rates for certain municipal services such as mowing or trash removal. Superintendent of the Jacksonville Street Department Les Ballinger brought the issue to the council, explaining there are a handful of households with constantly un-mowed lawns or un-removed trash. These tasks then fall back on the city, which currently charges $75 an hour plus an additional $15 in administration fees.

Following last night’s workshop, the council has agreed to increase the rate to $200 an hour plus the $15 administration fee. This item to officially change the rates for municipal services will be further discussed at next month’s council meetings.