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Local

Treatment plant upgrade progressing

District manager Mark Eddington (left) talks with district engineer Mike Holland about the upgrades being made at the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District facility Dec. 13 in DeKalb.
District manager Mark Eddington (left) talks with district engineer Mike Holland about the upgrades being made at the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District facility Dec. 13 in DeKalb.

DeKALB – Sewer lines are being laid. Holes are being dug for aeration tanks. And now the roof of the new administration and lab services building has been closed to the weather so the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District can continue work on its
$46 million plant upgrade through the winter.

District engineer Mike Holland said most of the winter work will be devoted to the administrative building, which will be closer to Sycamore Road and is on target to open to the public by midsummer.

“There was a big push to get the building buttoned up,” Holland said. “We may not be able to work out of the building since [lab work] is still going on in the old buildings, so we’re still figuring out that transition.”

Although work will mostly be limited to this building, Mark Eddington, executive director of the district, said there may still be days where there will be enough construction activity to have a lot of equipment coming and going from the Hollister Avenue entrance to the plant. Peoria Heights-based Williams Brothers Construction is the contractor for the project.

Holland said progress also has been made on the electrical building that will house an on-site generator that will allow the district to be partly self-sustaining.

The generator will be powered by bio fuel, which comes from the breakdown of biodegradable materials.

Eddington has said the district spends around $400,000 to $500,000 to power the facility, but an on-site generator operating off combustible gases could power about half of the facility. And if this is successful, there will be room to install another one.

This portion of the project, however, is still in the future. Holland said that even when the generator is ordered, it will take approximately six months to get it operational.

ComEd has worked to move all of the electrical systems from the houses that used to line Hollister Avenue away from the dig sites. Space for several of the district’s aeration tanks have also been dug but construction crews are yet to dig space for the largest tank, which is roughly the size of a football field.

The digging has caused a large amount of dirt to be transported to Hopkins Park at the site of the DeKalb Park District’s sled hill. An agreement with the park district, which was approved in August, will allow the water reclamation district to provide at least 80,000 cubic yards of dirt, which would fill about 4,480 dump trucks.

The three-year project is funded with a low-interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

By modifying the 90-year-old facility, the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District will be equipped to remove phosphorus from its wastewater, which was required by the EPA starting in 2017.

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