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Local

New Sycamore wastewater treatment plant to be completed in fall 2020

A drone captures a birds eye view of Sycamore's wastewater treatment plant.
A drone captures a birds eye view of Sycamore's wastewater treatment plant.

SYCAMORE – Phase 3 of the wastewater treatment plant project is well underway.

The $23.8 million project's latest phase should be finished by the fall, said to Fred Busse, public works director for the Sycamore. Phase1 in 2009 cost $4.86 million and Phase 2 in 2014 cost $1.76 million.

"Overall, we're about 55% through with the project," he said in reference to phase three. "The project is destined to be completed at the end of September or at the start of October."

Once the project is complete, the existing plant will be shut down.

Busse said the current wastewater treatment plant, 501 N. Cross St., has been there since 1979 and is still in operation. After the project is completed and everything is tested, the staff will be able to divert the incoming water flow to the new plant.

He said the improvements to the new plant not only include increasing water flow capacity – 4.9 million gallons a day compared with the current 2.97 million gallons a day – but also will include the introduction of a process that is more environmentally sound.

The new plant will use ultraviolet disinfection to purify the water, instead of chlorine.

"UV is more controllable and better all around," Busse said. "It's safer as far as the staff goes."

Busse said the mild winter has helped the project along.

"The way the winter's been this year, the contractor has not lost too many days to severe cold or snow," Busse said. "They've been pouring concrete this winter. They anticipated stopping in November or December."

Busse said the current plant still in use while construction continues, which has been hectic.

"It's like when you're doing remodeling at home," he said. "You've got to work around all of the mess while maintaining everyday life."

Busse said doing the project is worth doing.

"Hopefully it'll be good for another 20 years. The last plant was put online in 1979. That's a little over 40 years," he said.

The project is funded in large part by a $20 million Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan, with debt payments to be about $1.1 million annually, City Manager Brian Gregory said in May. The city also contributed $7 million from the Sewer Fund reserve and the Sewer Impact Fee Fund.