The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

April 27, 2014

New sewage plant not expected to obstruct Rural Village residents

By Kim West
kwest@athensnews-courier.com

— The approximately 220-lot Elkmont Rural Village and surrounding developments could have a new wastewater treatment plant up and running by late 2015, said Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority officials on Friday.

On the heels of the Authority Board approving the estimated $3.4 million project, officials are preparing for a pre-construction meeting with low-bidder B.H. Construction of Florence.

Brent Brown, construction manager and geographic information systems coordinator for the Authority, said on Friday a start date will be determined during the meeting and then the contractor has 395 days to complete the plant.

He said the new plant will provide better service for the approximately 150 homes in the Rural Village, plus many other parts of Elkmont.

“There are still many lots that have not been developed ... this plant not only handles ERV but the Piggly Wiggly shopping center, the Elkmont Industrial Park, downtown Elkmont and Elkmont High School,” he said.

Brown said the existing plant, located at the rear of the housing development, was built nearly 40 years ago. He said the Rural Village residents would receive continuous service while the new facility is being built.

“The new plant will be constructed adjacent to the current plant,” he said. “When the new plant is finished, flow will be diverted from the old plant and it will be taken out of service.”

Going with the flow

The project also features the addition of an equalization basin, providing an option for overflow if extreme rainfall drenches the Elkmont community.

“An equalization basin is basically a large holding tank that can handle a large amount of flow in a short period of time,” Brown said.

The basins are used to smooth out flow variations, causing a constant or nearly constant flow rate. Flow equalization improves the performance of the downstream processes and can reduce the size, number and cost of downstream treatment facilities, according to the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection.

The Authority is boosting its sewage service after self-reporting deficiencies to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

Remaining revenue from 2007 and 2010 bond issues will foot the bill for the new plant, according to Authority officials. Extra costs will be absorbed by the account created after selling water lines to Huntsville-annexed areas.

— Karen Middleton contributed to this report.