Sewer project moves forward

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Williamstown is moving forward with plans to construct a $15 million sewer plant on Ky. 36.

The decision to build the new plant means sewer customers will be paying higher rates as early as next summer.

Council members unanimously approved the project and accepted a bid of $11.9 million from 3D Enterprises Contracting of Lexington for construction of the new facility and a bid of almost $1.7 million to Merryman Excavation for building a three and one-half mile interceptor line from the old sewer plant to the new one.

City council members spent the bulk of their October meeting discussing whether to move forward with the project or whether making repairs at the current plant that is 25 years old was an option.

Construction bids for the project were opened on Oct. 16, but came in $2.5 million more than engineers estimated.

Doug Beckham, city administrator, said actual construction on the project should probably begin in March 2010 with completion in 18 months.

Funding for the sewer plant is coming from 1,098 customers in Williamstown and 778 customers in Dry Ridge, as well as tap on fees.

Beckham said the city council had previously approved sewer rate increases for the next two years to help with the cost of building the new plant.

Williamstown residents currently pay $11.50 for 1,000 gallons or less and $6.30 for each additional 1,000 gallons.

Effective July 1, 2010, Williamstown residents will pay $14.95 for 1,000 gallons or less and $8.20 for each additional 1,000 gallons of wastewater the city treats.

Williamstown residents, however, are not the only ones who may see higher rates.

Residents of Dry Ridge may also be  paying higher rates to help fund the new sewer plant.

Dry Ridge has a 40-year contract with Williamstown to treat a minimum of 5 million gallons per month, said City Clerk Cindy Harris.

Residents of Dry Ridge pay $21.32 for 2,000 gallons while non-residential properties pay $37.07 for 2,000 gallons. The city charges $5.32 for each additional 1,000 gallons.

Williamstown was awarded a 1 percent Kentucky Infrastructure Authority loan for construction of the treatment plant.

Despite the cost, Williamstown council members said they had no choice but to move forward with the project, especially since the current plant is outdated and parts are nearly impossible to find.

Brian Gatewood, superintendent of the sewer plant, said the current plant is nearing capacity and without an expansion, development would come to a standstill in Williamstown and Dry Ridge.

Williamstown Mayor Glenn Caldwell said he was aware that rate increases would not be popular but the city had no choice.