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City approves $4.4 million for wastewater plant

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A drum screen has recently arrived and will be a replacement for the less reliable step screen system currently being used at the wastewater treatment plant. The cost of the drum screen was approximately $100,000. BONNIE FUSSELL

The city of Portland Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved approximately $4.5 million in funds for the first phase of improvements to the Wastewater Treatment Plant last month.

Earlier, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found the plant in violation of its permit regarding nitrogen, ammonia, and disinfectant. The violations date back to 2012 and the city had properly reported these violations, but EPA issued the city a $248,500 civil penalty.

EPA and the city settled the penalty in a positive way for the city with part of the fine being used for a Supplemental Environment Project. In addition, the city has to make improvements to its Wastewater Treatment Plant to prevent future violations.

The BOMA approved a Construction Administration Service Agreement with Jacobs Engineering for Phase I of the project. The agreement is for an estimated 2,828 hours at $268,750 for the scope of work. The funding will come from the water/sewer bond money.

Jacobs Engineering will assist the city with the construction administration during the construction period which is expected to be nine months.

The construction bid was awarded to J. Cumby Construction, Inc. of Cookeville, Tenn. for $4,079,680. Jacobs Engineering, who solicited the bids for the city, recommended awarding the contract to this company. The funding is from the water/sewer bond money.

Two other bids were received from Haren Construction Co., Inc. of Etowah, Tenn. for $4,377,000 and W & O Construction Co., Inc. of Livingston, Tenn. for $4,584,100.

The total cost to improve the city's Waste Water Treatment Plant is estimated to be $14 million. In April of 2016, City Recorder and Financial Director Doug Yoeckel said that based on current bond rates a 30 -year bond for $12.5 million the city would have a debt service of $800,000 annually.

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