FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Contact: Karen Whichard, 704-336-4793
CHARLOTTE – Charlotte City Council approved a contract with Crowder Construction at its meeting on Monday, December 12, to begin upgrades to the Irwin Creek wastewater treatment plant.
The $20.8 million project involves rebuilding a significant portion of the structures and equipment on the site. A second phase of improvements to this plant is scheduled to follow this work in about 18 months. The project is financed with revenue bonds which are repaid with wastewater customer fees. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department is not funded by property taxes.
“While we have expanded the plant many times since it was constructed in the 1920s, much of the equipment and structures are decades old and in need of rehabilitation to ensure that the plant can safely treat wastewater,” said Barry Gullet, director, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department (CMUD). “As a utility, we are moving from growth mode to maintenance mode and this project is very much a part of that shift in our focus.”
Identified as a need in the 2007 wastewater master plan, this project includes rehabilitation of wastewater pumps, new structures to measure and control wastewater flow through the various treatment processes, new generators to keep the plant going during power outages, upgrades to equipment used to treat wastewater to assure water quality standards can be reliably achieved, and upgrades to improve the efficiency and reliability of the electrical system within the plant.
“Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents have a big investment in the water and sewer system. Projects like this one are necessary to protect that investment and to maintain the integrity of the system,” said Gullet. “We finance the cost of large projects like this one and more than sixty cents of every ratepayer dollar goes towards paying that debt. If we neglect maintenance and upgrades now, the plant, and eventually water quality, will continue to deteriorate and will cost more to replace in the future.”
The Irwin Creek Wastewater Plant treats about 10 million gallons per day of wastewater that is produced by people who live or work in its service area which includes much of uptown and west Charlotte. It is one of five wastewater plants operated by CMUD, which in total treat more than 80 million gallons of wastewater each day.
Council also approved a contract for $2.7 million with an engineering company, Hazen and Sawyer, to provide project management and administration services. This includes observation of construction, facility startup services and operator training.