Council to discuss $2M detention basin project, ‘glass mountain’

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By Meaghan Downs

The city’s wastewater treatment plant can handle increased water flow during heavy rains.  
For now, according to Public Works Director Larry Hazlett.
Processing a little more than 1.8 million gallons of wastewater on a normal day, the city wastewater treatment plant has averaged 10 million gallons per day during wet weather conditions, about 1 million gallons more than the plant’s maximum capacity of 9.9 million.
“We could [be out of compliance] at any given time,” Hazlett said of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.  
“Any time you run that close, you try to make corrective measures.”
The solution: a $2 million detention basin built to store wastewater overflow temporarily during particularly heavy rains.
During a public meeting and presentation regarding the detention basin proposal Monday night, several council members expressed concerns about the cost of the project and questioned whether the basin — which would only be used to store diluted wastewater during wet weather conditions — was really necessary.
City councilman Larry Giles said he thought the city’s most recent work on the treatment plant was supposed to take care of wastewater inflow problems.
“You catch me cold-blooded here,” Giles said of the detention basin proposal. “I don’t like what I see here.”
Council member Sandy Goodlett called the project a “Band-Aid on a bigger problem,” with several other council members asking if the $2 million could be used to replace the city’s aging sewer lines completely instead of building the detention basin.
Hazlett said $2 million would not solve the city’s problem with its old clay sewer lines, some of which were installed in the 1940s. The basin, which would temporarily store diluted wastewater on peak flow days, is a more economical option, he said.
“You couldn’t replace enough line in a year,” Hazlett said during the council’s Monday public meeting on the project. “At the rate we’re going, we’ll never catch up.”
Mayor Edwinna Baker said she has factored out yearly payments for the $2 million project and the basin should not have an affect on city sewer rates.
“We didn’t pull out all the money for replacement of sewer lines and repairs,” Baker said.
Because council members requested holding a work session, Baker said she will need to request a one-time extension before the loan’s end date on June 12.
The city council will hold a work session regarding the wet weather detention basin on May 30 at 5 p.m. at city hall.

Council to discuss recycling plant glass pile during work session
Council member Bobby Durr requested that Mayor Edwinna Baker add discussion about the Dlubak Glass Company’s large glass pile in the Lawrenceburg industrial park to the May 30 work session agenda.
“I just think it’s a concern for the people and the city of Lawrenceburg,” Durr said when asked why he’d like to address the recycling company’s glass pile. “If that [the industrial park fire] could happen on a small scale, it could happen on a big scale.”

What is the wet weather detention basin?
The proposed wet weather detention basin would store up to 2 million gallons of diluted wastewater to offset potential excessive flow entering the city wastewater treatment plant during wet weather conditions.
According to Public Works Director Larry Hazlett, the wastewater treatment plant sometimes averages a peak of 10 million gallons per day during wet weather conditions, about 1 million gallons more than the plant’s maximum wastewater capacity.
The basin is needed to keep the treatment plant from reaching maximum capacity during wet weather conditions, Hazlett said, and to prevent the treatment plant from receiving fines from the federal government for not meeting wastewater treatment standards as a result.
Roughly 120 feet in diameter, the wet weather detention basin would be built at the old wastewater treatment plant off US 44, west of the city maintenance garage and in proximity to the Anderson County community park.
Although storing diluted wastewater, the basin would not need equipment for aeration, mixing or odor control due to the facility’s remote location and the water’s rate of dilution, according to engineers with the GRW firm of Lexington.
The facility could be designed for future addition of those components, engineers said during a presentation to the council Monday night.
The project is expected to cost about $2 million dollars, and would be financed by the city with a 20-year loan at 3 percent interest.
“It is anticipated that the current sewer rate structure can repay the loan debt without having a sewer rate increase,” according to documentation provided by the engineering firm GRW of Lexington.