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Wastewater plant project ‘coming along well’ in Marshall

MARSHALL — A major construction project at Marshall’s sewage treatment plant is more than two-thirds finished, city staff said this week.

The $14 million project to help replace old equipment at the plant is scheduled to be finished next August, said Wastewater Treatment Superintendent Bob VanMoer.

“To date, everything in the project has been going very well. There have been very few glitches, so we’re really happy with the project,” VanMoer said.

However, construction is a long process, because the city can’t shut down the wastewater plant in order to replace the equipment. Many parts of the project have been staggered out, so sewage can still be treated during construction, he said.

VanMoer reported on the current status of the project to members of the Marshall City Council earlier this week.

“It’s been several months now and we’re coming along pretty well,” VanMoer said.

While there is some new construction involved in the project, a lot of the updates are focused on replacing important equipment for filtering and treating sewage. Parts of the wastewater plant are over 25 years old, and face significant wear and tear from round-the-clock use.

VanMoer said the wastewater project is now about 70% complete. The project is being funded with the help of a $14 million Public Facilities Authority low-interest loan.

One of the first pieces of equipment to be replaced was the grit classifier, a machine that helps separate non-organic waste from wastewater, VanMoer said. The plant is also in the process of updating one of its two trickling filters. Wastewater is dripped through plastic structures inside the filter buildings, and bacteria growing on the plastic helps clean up the water.

“They just started (Monday) putting media into the trickling filter, so it is starting to come back and get replaced,” VanMoer said. “It’s a large project.”

Other parts of the plant that need replacing include one of the clarifiers, which allow solid waste to settle out from wastewater, as well as pumps and aeration systems. Parts of the aeration system are scheduled to be replaced in the spring, VanMoer said.

VanMoer said the clarifier being replaced is now offline.

“This one was extremely corroded,” he said. “They got all the equipment out of there now. They will be starting to replace that equipment hopefully next week.”

Part of the wastewater project includes building an additional clarifier, to help improve the flow at the plant. “That is just about complete,” and should be up and running within a couple of months, VanMoer said.

VanMoer said construction of a new two million-gallon storage tank for biosolids has also finished. The wastewater plant takes the solid waste that settles out of wastewater and turns it into fertilizer than can be applied to agricultural land. While the biosolids tank is finished, VanMoer said it will still need to be hooked up to pipes this month.

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