The renovation and expansion project for the Brookfield Waste Water Treatment Plant in Masury is on schedule and within budget, officials said at a meeting Dec. 14 between Trumbull County officials and representatives of its general and electrical contractors.
The $17 million project began in February and is to be finished in early 2023.
The county recently missed a second deadline for decommissioning a part of the plant, but local officials said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has been lenient in dealing with this issue.
The county must eliminate the partial treatment and release of waste water that occurs when large amounts of ground water get into the sanitary sewer system during heavy rains. The county is removing the swirl concentrator, which is involved in the partial treatment process, and installing an equalization basin, a 2.8-million-gallon storage tank, so that infiltrating water can be detained until it can be fully treated. The swirl concentrator was supposed to be off-line by June 30, but the EPA set a new deadline of Dec. 31. The project ran into issues that meant the second deadline also was missed, and another deadline has been set for June, officials said.
The equalization basin, a huge concrete tank, has been poured and tested, but still needs electrical and plumbing work and a stairway and railing to be installed, said Ryan Thomas of general contractor Thomas Construction Inc of Grove City.
Bill Durst, the county’s wastewater superintendent, said the EPA generally doesn’t push the enforcement-of-deadlines issues unless the individual or agency at issue doesn’t respond. Trumbull County has kept the EPA aware of progress and impediments, and the EPA has publicly posted notes from several monthly construction meetings.
Durst added that the project is a mix of compliance issues and measures that are meant to get ahead of things before they become compliance issues, a feather in the cap of Trumbull County in dealing with the state, he said.
The installation of the influent wet well, the point where water enters the plant for treatment, also was subject to a Dec. 31 deadline, although it will be missed by a couple of months, officials said. Construction was held up when it was discovered that the soil where the wet well was to be built was not suitable to support the structure. This issue was solved by installing helical piles – long posts with blades on them – under the structure, at a cost of an extra about $200,000.
Another major part of the project is replacing the chlorine water disinfection system with an ultraviolet light water disinfection system. The UV components are in storage, and probably won’t be installed until February with a goal of making them operational in April, Thomas said.
This complex project of demolition, construction and renovation is made more difficult by the small amount of property the plant occupies, said Cameron Deem of Burgess and Niple, the company hired to represent the county on site. Although seemingly every inch of ground is filled with materials or construction equipment, some materials and components, such as the UV equipment, have had to be stored off site, he said.
The contractors have mostly avoided the supply chain issues that are much in the news. Jim Breese from Thomas Construction said his only problem has been finding some valves and ductile iron pipe. Suppliers are telling him the items are hard to get or no longer made, he said. If he cannot acquire the items, he will ask for a waiver of requirements that all material be made domestically, he said.