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Lake Geneva Chiropractic

Expansion of sewer plant on schedule

Stimulus funds help pay for project

July 21, 2010 | 08:43 AM
Town of Sharon — On Chilson Road, there is a flurry of activity at the wastewater treatment plant.

Construction crews are continuing to expand the facility which services the villages of Walworth and Fontana and the Kikkoman Foods plant.

"We are on schedule, and in some cases we are a little ahead of schedule," Plant Superintendent Dean Donner said. "Ninety percent of the major cement work is done."

Donner said he is still waiting for some equipment to be delivered, which is being custom made for the plant.

Each day, at least 1 million gallons of wastewater is treated at the facility. After a large storm, it could be up to 4 million gallons. This expansion will ensure more waste can be handled in the future.

The expansion also are needed because equipment at the plant is more than 25 years old and past its estimated life. The dated equipment also makes it difficult to repair.

"Nobody out there in the private sector is familiar with it because of its age," Donner said. "We really have squeezed out the last of the life expectancy and then some."

Last year, C.D. Smith Construction, Fond du Lac, bid $5.1 million for the project, which was below original budget projections.

On Thursday, workers were completing catwalks along the clarifier tank and finishing work in the expanded laboratory. Other aspects of the project also are near completion or completed.

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Donner said the expanded facility should meet the needs in the area for the next 15 or more years, but that is barring any major subdivision project or expansion at Kikkoman Foods.

In December, Donner said construction is scheduled to reach substantial completion.

After the plant is completed, the Department of Natural Resources is planning on tightening restrictions on the plant. However, Donner said the facility will have a one-year grace period to work out any kinks.

Donner said he thinks the plant will be able to operate with the same number of people — five full-time and two part-time employees — after completion.

What is being built and why?

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The expansion of the wastewater treatment facility includes several improvements to increase its capacity.

A new mechanical bar screen is being constructed within the existing screening building.

Donner said this is the first line of defense for the sewage treatment plant. The screen catches rags and other items that shouldn't be processed with the plant.

Construction of a new oxidation ditch is nearly completed. The oxidation ditches mixes the waste with bacteria and breaks it down.

"It works just like your stomach, it breaks the solids down," Donner said. "There is a long detention time in those ditches before the water leaves."

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Although the oxidation ditch holds a large amount of wastewater, it shouldn't have an odor. Donner said well-run plants won't smell.

After the waste leaves the oxidation ditch it is brought to a clarifier, where the solids settle to the bottom of the tank. The sludge is removed and the clear water is later treated.

The plant also will convert its existing chlorine treatment tank into an ultraviolet disinfection tank. Instead of using chlorine to kill bacteria in the clear water an ultraviolet light is used.

The water is further treated and eventually the clean water from the plant enters Piscasaw Creek and the sludge from the plant is used as fertilizer for farmland that is owned by the facility.

The facility rents out the land, which produces goods for animal consumption. Additional sludge is provided to nearby farmers who request it.

Donner said this is a newer technology that is safer for the plant to use.

Another part of the expansion is an increase in lab space. Donner said the plant is required to run daily tests on samples to ensure the plant is operating properly.

The expansion also includes:

- Construction of a new storage building

- Construction of an administration building addition

- Modifications to the existing influent pumping station

- Replacing and adding pumps.

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Walworth County