Construction begins on new NA wastewater treatment plant

Aerial view of the construction site. Just left of center in the background above trees is the water tank at the end of Butler Ave. Click on the photo to see more detail where the pools are being dug.

Site preparation is under way for New Albany’s new wastewater treatment facility north of town.

The approximately $18 million project will replace the city’s obsolete facility accessed from Chickasaw Drive and move it from being so close to the park and sportsplex areas.

“It’s a 400-day project and should be ready late next spring,” light, gas and water manager Bill Mattox said.

A new pumping station is being built at the old site behind Reed’s Supermarket and one pool will be retained for emergency purposes but everything else will be removed. This should mostly clear up the odor problem, Mattox has said.

The new plant should have even less odor since it will not have a sludge pool like the old one, and there are several natural barriers between the new site and the north side of town.

Mattox said the high-pressure lines from the old site to the new one have been installed and crews have excavated the new pools, getting ready to pour concrete for them.

About half the funding is a grant from the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the other part is a loan that can be repaid with user fees.

The new plant is only supposed to handle sewage with water from storm drains going into ditches instead, but Mattox said the volume at the current plant does increase after a heavy rain so there is some groundwater getting into older lines.

A side benefit of the new plant is that it will allow removal of the black sewer pipe that crosses the Tallahatchie River just south of the Bankhead Street bridge and has been considered an eyesore.

The new plant is at the end of CR 324, which is off CR 115, formerly known as North Street before the Tallahatchie River bridge on the street was closed.

The light, gas and water department has several other projects under way as well.

Mattox said architects have started programming and assessment work on the former Fred’s building, which the utility department purchased for office space for itself and the police department.
“They should be ready to take bids in about six months and we should be in there in about a year,” he said.

The city also purchased the nearby WIC building on Carter Avenue and it will be converted into a city board room and municipal courtroom, probably after the first of the year.

Work may also start soon on a new electric power substation on Hwy. 348. It will replace the nearly 70-year-old present substation, which also is obsolete, and move it away from the adjacent TVA substation. Mattox said the new substation will be able to connect to TVA and other lines without encroaching on nearby residential property.

Once this is done, the electric department will begin to replace all the present electro-mechanical electric power meters with new wireless models. The new meters will remove the need for an employee to read them in person and will provide more information for the residents about power usage.

Mattox said the city has about 11,000 electric meters to replace and will get to them as they are able.

Some of the meters report data through a wireless mesh network, from local to regional stations, while others use cell phone technology and still others more basic radio frequency. The type here will depend on the vendor with the winning bid.

Large high-pressure lines will transport sewage from the downtown area.

Part of the site from ground level

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