Plant expansion in works

City of Clinton Public Works director Jeff Vreugdenhil addresses City Council on the proposed expansion of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

In the midst of a water plant expansion that will double the size of the facility and position Clinton for future growth, city officials are now laying the groundwork for a similar project regarding its wastewater treatment.

“As we continue to evaluate our options to encourage growth, ensuring sufficient infrastructure capacity is a priority,” City manager Shawn Purvis stated. “We are currently investing to ensure available water capacity and we must be able to provide adequate wastewater treatment capacity as well.”

To that end, the City Council has unanimously approved an agreement to develop a PER (preliminary engineering report) to evaluate the need and possibilities of a future expansion of the Norman H. Larkins wastewater treatment facility. A PER is the first step in identifying the city’s needs and cost estimates so it can begin to plan the next steps to identify partners and funding sources, city officials said.

“We are engaging in some preliminary engineering to look at what it would take to expand our plant,” noted Public Works director Jeff Vreugdenhil. “It is funded 50 percent in this year’s budget and the rest of the balance will be in next year’s budget. All of the work that goes into the preliminary engineering report will be in the final engineering plans.”

The report costs $65,000, half of which will be paid in the current 2014-15 budget, the other half in 2015-16.

According to the plant’s annual performance report for 2013, the City of Clinton maintains approximately 91 miles of wastewater collection lines with 14 lift stations, 1,612 manholes and approximately 3,255 connections. The collection system discharges to the Norman H. Larkins Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is staffed by six full-time wastewater operators, all of whom are state certified in Biological Wastewater Operations

The collection system is staffed by 10 full-time personnel, led by the city’s state-certified distribution collection manager. The system’s staff is responsible for the routine inspection, maintenance and cleaning, as well as repair and upgrading of the collection lines, manholes and connections.

According to the city’s annual report, the plant is permitted by the state to treat 5 million gallons of wastewater per day by tertiary biological methods. Following mechanical separation of solids and biological treatment, the treated wastewater is filtered, disinfected and returned to the Williams Old Mill Branch, which enters the Great Coharie Creek of the Cape Fear River Basin.

During the calendar year of 2013, the Norman H. Larkins wastewater treatment plant treated approximately 955 million gallons of wastewater.

Vreugdenhil said staff selected the Wooten Company from the city’s approved list of qualified engineering contractors for the PER given their extensive history with the original design and plant expansion history.

“I’m pleased to announce that the city is being continually aggressive in looking to grow our water plant, and increase the potential for outsiders to come to Clinton and have water capacity,” said Vreugdenhil. “Along with that, as we develop the need, we have a wastewater plant that has the capacity for gallons but we are at our loading capacity.”

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