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Plum City plans ahead for wastewater treatment plant upgrade

The current dome and much of the equipment at the Plum City Wastewater Treatment Plant is likely to be replaced in 2019 as the Village is currently looking for grants and funding options for the upgrade. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia

Plans have already begun for upgrading the Plum City Wastewater Treatment Plant, hopefully by 2019.

The upgrade, said Plum City Village Clerk Michele Burg, will include replacing much of the equipment and the existing dome that covers the plant.

"[The plant] is starting to deteriorate pretty fast," said Plum City Village President Doug Watkins. "The machinery that runs it is run down and can't get parts any more."

The plant, originally constructed in the 1980s, is still working, but the Village believes it is time to start planning for the plant to be upgraded.

"There are more repair issues," Burg said. "It's just time and it needs to be upgraded."

The estimated cost of the project is just under $2 million. Part of the cost of the project, Watkins said, will be covered by grants and the remainder will be covered by a loan.

Right now, Burg said they are working with Ayres Engineering who is helping the Village find and apply for grants to help fund the upgrade. Watkins said grants will not be given out until the fall so they will know more at that time as to how much funding they will receive.

Burg said currently the Village doesn't believe the upgrade will cost Plum City residents more money.

"The sewer utility payments, at this time, should be enough to cover the loan payments and expenses for the sewer utility," Burg said.

When the upgrade happens, Plum City Street Superintendent Jeff Doughty said there will be no disruption to the residents' service. Doughty said the existing tank at the plant will be used during the upgrade process. Burg said the existing tank was originally built for sludge storage, but since sludge is being hauled away, the tank was converted to centrate storage.

"During construction, the sewage will be diverted to the tanks and processed there, with sludge continuing to be hauled away," Burg said. "After construction, the tanks will go back to being used for centrate storage."

Doughty said many small communities have no back up if their tank is not working. Many times if there is a problem, those towns have to haul everything out to another plant, Doughty said. But after the upgrade, Plum City will have another option. Burg said because the existing tank is so big it will be divided into two sections.

"By dividing it, it will make the area smaller for centrate efficiency purposes," Burg said. "Thereby creating a spare tank in case there is a need in the future."

Watkins said they work hard every year to ensure the sewer lines are working correctly with no problems.

"We televise lines every year to see which ones are bad and need to be redone," Watkins said.

Each year they check different lines and in a three-year span all lines are looked at and repairs are made as necessary.

So far, Doughty said, they are looking to replace the equipment and dome before anything happens.

"There hasn't been any catastrophic failures, no complaints from public," Doughty said about the current Wastewater Treatment Plant.

As plans continue forward with the upgrade, Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator John Glaus said they will continue to have public meetings.

"We encourage the public to attend," Glaus said.