Over the next three years, Kingsport plans to perform more than $20 million in renovations and improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The work is being done to bring the plant into compliance with the U.S. Clean Water Act.
The plant has been in violation of the CWA in two ways during recent years — a majority being “technical” violations where the effluent (liquid waste) leaving the plant had not gone through every treatment process, even though the discharge at the river met CWA limits. A minority of the violations were when organic material was not adequately removed from the effluent.
After this discovery, Kingsport entered into an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to address the problems with the work involving three major areas — plant hydraulics ($9 million), final clarifiers ($6.5 million) and sludge digestion ($2.5 million).
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the funding and signed a contract with the Nashville-based firm of Camp, Dresser and McKee for engineering services. Public Works Director Ryan McReynolds said the engineering work has been completed (it took about a year), and the city will soon be entering the construction phase of the project.
“You’ll start seeing construction begin in the next few months, just right off the bat. There will be, over the next few years, cranes and machinery and trucks and basic construction work occurring within the fence,” McReynolds said, adding that Kingsport is in compliance with the CWA. “(The project) gives us the assurance that we can maintain our plant inside compliance all throughout the year at all points.”
McReynolds said Industry Road would not be impacted by the project and that the project is scheduled for completion Dec. 31, 2010.
Initially, city officials talked about the work at the wastewater treatment plant costing about $20 million. Last week the BMA amended the contract for the project, which set a guaranteed maximum price of approximately $21.3 million.
“What occurred was just a refinement of the project. There’s no bells and whistles built into this design,” McReynolds said. “This is a refinement of our understanding of what needs to occur to ensure full-time and continual compliance of our permit.”
McReynolds said when the city looked at the project on the front end in general of what was needed, $20 million came back as the price tag.
“As you do your design, you refine what you need to do, and it came out $21.3 million,” McReynolds said. “When we first saw it, your span of information is very narrow so your span of error is very large when you’ve not done your design.”
McReynolds said the maximum the project will cost is $21.3 million, and the cost could come in less than that amount.