MONTICELLO — Council members took a step toward construction of a new wastewater treatment plant by approving a contract with Fehr-Graham Engineering to perform design engineering services for the new facility, estimated to cost $8.5 million.
The $491,492 contract will get the project ready to bid, hopefully by next spring.
"This has been neglected for way too long," Alderman John Miller said of the plant, which has some parts that date back to the 1930s. The last major update was in the 1970s. "It's been pushed along by every other council, and it comes to a point where you've got to do it."
Mayor Chris Corrie said the current plant meets Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, but the city has been told that additional requirements in the area of phosphates and nitrates will likely be on the table when their treatment plant permit is renewed in two to three years.
"We've been unofficially warned that there may be further restrictions on the waste water treatment plant" in the future, Corrie said.
The city is already being required to test for some chemicals that are not currently regulated, partially because the treated material ends up in the Sangamon River.
If bids go out next spring, it would likely be the summer or fall of 2016 before the new plant is completed.