Richmond Hill has several items on its agenda for 2013, but the biggest project is moving forward with a new wastewater treatment facility, according to City Manager Chris Lovell.
The city’s current wastewater treatment plant, which operates at a 1.5 million gallon per day capacity, is no longer functioning at levels that the state Environmental Protection Division will approve, Lovell said.
“We’re building a brand new one,” he said, noting the price tag will be more than $20 million. “That will be the biggest expenditure this city has made by about four times, so that is definitely the big (project for 2013).”
Lovell said plans for the design of the facility are about 80 percent complete. He estimated the city would begin bidding out the project by March or April with construction most likely beginning in the fall 2013, he said.
The new plant will be what is known as a membrane bioreactor plant, or MBR, and will eventually be able to treat up to 4 million gallons per day. Water will be treated to “drinking water” quality, then piped out to the constructed wetlands that are part of the city’s current treatment facility near Elbow Swamp.
Lovell said the plant will initially treat 3 million gallons per day, but will be upgraded as needed.
Some other water/sewer projects the city looks to move forward with in 2013 include water-looping projects in the area known as the Bottom and Richmond Heights, as well as upgrades to water and sewer lines throughout the city, Lovell said.
“A lot of these lines go and they dead end, and what happens is that water sits in those lines and gets kind of stale so we have to flush them,” he explained. “We should have looped those lines where there is a constant flow of water through them.”
From the new wastewater treatment facility to the water-looping and sewer projects, Lovell said Richmond Hill is now in a “great position from a water/sewer standpoint.”
Another big ticket item for Richmond Hill in 2013 is to move forward with an interchange near the planned Belfast Commerce Centre and Interstate-95, Lovell said.
The Federal Highway Administration recently approved an interchange justification report for the project, but now the task is to figure out how to fund the project, he said.
He said city and county officials will work throughout 2013 with representatives from Rayonier and TerraPointe, the property owners and industrial park developers, as well as state and federal officials to find the best way to fund the project. However, Lovell said funding is still several years from coming to fruition.
On the city’s roadways, residents can look forward to seeing a traffic light at the intersections of Mulberry Drive and Highway 17.
While the agreement for the traffic light was reached in 2012, Lovell said the installation will take place within the first few months of 2013.
Read more in the Jan. 2 edition of the News.