Thursday, July 29, 2004

Sewer plant under way soon

Site work to begin this fall in Alexandria

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer

Northern Kentucky sanitation officials will award a $29 million construction contract today for a new Campbell County sewer plant even as they face a lengthy legal battle over its operation.

A look at the figures behind the new sewer plant:
• $29 million: cost of construction contract
• 1 million gallons: the amount of sewage the current plant can treat per day
• 4 million gallons: the amount of sewage the new plant could treat per day
The Sanitation District No. 1 board of directors will give the contract to the lowest bidder, Judy Construction of Cynthiana, district General Manager Jeff Eger said Wednesday.

Work preparing the site on Ky. 10 in Alexandria will begin by fall with construction set to start early next year. The plant, which replaces an outdated sewage treatment facility, will open in late 2006 or early 2007, Eger said.

The current plant can treat about 1 million gallons of sewage a day. The new plant will be able to treat as much as 4 million gallons. The district's largest treatment facility, the Dry Creek plant in Villa Hills, can handle nearly 40 million gallons a day.

But the Alexandria plant is a key component in Campbell County's growth and development.

State environmental officials have deemed the current plant inadequate to handle more sewage. A moratorium on construction in the area was implemented several years ago.

But the new plant will allow the moratorium to be lifted, and a building boom in the Alexandria area is expected.

The plant is just part of a $70 million project.

The overall project includes construction of underground discharge lines that will take the treated sewage through the Campbell County countryside into the Ohio River.

Cincinnati Water Works officials have filed a complaint with the state of Kentucky over location of the lines. They say that at 11 miles upriver, the lines are too close to the waterworks' Ohio River intake at California, Ohio.

Eger said the district disagrees and is fighting the complaint while proceeding with construction of the plant.

"We're moving ahead," he said.

Eger expects to win the legal battle that could take more than a year to fight. But if the district does lose, it has contingency plans that include adding treatment measures to the discharge.

"We're not moving the plant," Eger said. "We can't wait any longer."

Kentucky state officials must sign off on the construction contract, but that is considered a formality, Eger said.

By financing the project through the state, the district will save $19 million in interest payments over 30 years. State financing can often provide lower interest rates than money offered by a private lender.


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