By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MASON - Construction is expected to start soon on a $32 million wastewater treatment plant that could nearly triple the city's processing capacity.
Construction equipment could start moving in within the next couple weeks now that City Council has approved several contracts for the plant, which is being built on Mason-Morrow-Millgrove Road.
The new plant is less than a mile from the old one on U.S. 42, parts of which have been in use since the 1960s.
"We had started off looking at designing an expansion to this plant," said Mason's utility superintendent, Ernie Stickler. "But with the increasing flows from the city, we realized there was no point in that, because by the time we have been done with construction, we would have been in construction for another expansion again."
This year, the average flow will exceed the capacity of 4.95 million gallons per day.
The first phase will increase capacity to 8.67 million gallons per day, and ultimately the plant could process 13 million gallons a day. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has not yet approved their permits to discharge wastewater into the Little Miami River, Stickler said.
The OEPA limits the amount of wastewater that can be discharged into the river, and communities have been fighting for the limited space.
After more than five years of discussion, City Council this week approved several contracts:
A nearly $23.6 million general construction contract with Adams-Robinson Enterprises;
A pipeline work contract for about $1.7 million with Howell Contractors, Inc.;
A $514,270 contract with Triton Services Inc. for heating, ventilating and air-conditioning work;
A $372,500 plumbing contract with Nelson-Stark Co.
Council had earlier approved a $3.13 million electrical contract with ESI.
Construction is expected to take two years.
"The idea is to plan out and determine what you need to do in the most economical way," Stickler said. "That's why we need to build now."
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