By SAMANTHA PIDDE
A groundbreaking ceremony was held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug, 20, at Point Rock Park for Mount Carroll’s long-discussed $11.3 million Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) project.
The Mount Carroll City Council has been working on the WWTP project for many years now in order to meet upcoming Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) requirements and specifications.
All municipalities are required to clean sewer waters before discharging them into ponds and must meet state regulations on the discharge of water.
Mayor Carl Bates has said Mount Carroll has worked diligently to remain in compliance with the regulations, but the city is being mandated by the state to update the facility and will eventually face fines if it does not.
The existing plant along the Waukarusa River in Point Rock Park was built in 1959, with its most recent upgrade in 1979. In previous city council meetings, the city and Sharon Pepin from Community Funding & Planning Services have reported that getting replacement parts for the "out-of-date" plant is almost impossible.
The new facility will be updated to a newer, more efficient AreoMod facility. The new plant will use an activated sludge system to clean the water, which will make future upgrades and requirements easier to meet.
The new plant will be constructed outside of the flood plain, just east and south of the existing plant, on three acres of property purchased by the city for $45,000 from Bob Law.
Once construction begins, which is to start immediately, completion is expected to take approximately 1-1/2 years, with an anticipated date of November 2020.
This past May the city council accepted the low construction bid of $11,380,000 from Leander Construction of Canton. Other bids included $11,520,000 from Williams Brothers Construction, Inc. and $11,7373,000 from River City Construction, LLC.
The low bid was 12 percent (almost $2 million) above previous estimates. Representatives from MSA Professional Services, Inc., attributed the different to tariffs, labor costs and the time in which the city bid. Not wanting to wait until next winter to rebid and chance something will break in that time, the city approved the low bid.
The city has obtained an almost $14 million loan from the IEPA. The loan will last 30 years, with an .8 percent interest rate and 45 percent principal loan forgiveness.
In May the city council passed an ordinance increasing the WWTP improvement fee on property owners' monthly water bills by $10.