The Sweet Smell of Success
"Staff got it under control in ten minutes, which minimized the spill," Kenzie says. "If we'd had the West Plant up and running, we could've handled it more quickly--maybe." But the West Plant--originally built by the New Deal's WPA in 1936--was shut down in 2006. It's now being demolished, and its replacement should be online in about two years. Kenzie says the additional capacity--and, he hopes, the resumption of the city's footing drain disconnection program--should go a long way towards minimizing the risk of future spills.
The final part of the project is renovating the East Plant, constructed in 1977 to handle the sanitary sewers' liquid waste. "We had to do solids first, because it was failing," says Amicangelo. "Plus we didn't want to do both projects at the same time and put the expenses on the customer at once. We spread it out over time with 4 percent [sewage fee increases] per year" from 2005 to 2014.
The entire construction cycle is scheduled to take five years, but "we got a good contractor, and he anticipates finishing in four to four-and-a-half years," says Amicangelo. Adding contingencies and engineering fees, "the total project will cost $114 million."