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Antwerp to break ground on wastewater treatment plant project in July

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ANTWERP – Repairs will start next month on the village’s wastewater treatment plant, which is on its last legs and has been in jeopardy of failing since 2010.

Contracts were awarded for the $3.8 million project by the village Board of Trustees in June to complete improvements at the plant. Work on the Main Street plant will include the installation of two new rotating biological contactors used to treat water and a connected treatment and chemical storage building at which sand filters will treat water. The project is expected to be completed by next spring, Village Clerk Amy Cole said.

Antwerp officials began planning the project in the summer of 2010 when one of the biological units failed. Because it could not fund the project independently, the village has spent the past three years applying for state and federal funding. In December, the village secured a $3.27 million loan from the state Environmental Facilities Corp., to be paid back over 30 years with no interest. In addition, it acquired two grants totaling $750,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program.

Continental Construction Co., Gouverneur, was named the general contractor for the project with a bid of $1,482,026. Dow Electric, Malone, will complete electrical work for $207,579.

The additional treatment building to be constructed, which wasn’t included in the project’s original design, was required by the state Department of Environmental Conservation for the village to meet guidelines for phosphorous contained in treated water, Mrs. Cole said. DEC, which inspected the plant in July, informed the village that phosphorous in treated water exceeded newly established requirements. By including the treatment building, she said, the $1.8 million original cost of the project was roughly doubled.

To operate the upgraded plant, the village’s two full-time plant operators will have to complete training to upgrade their Class 1 licenses to Class 2.

Village residents began paying higher quarterly sewer rates in the fiscal year 2012 to fund the project, Mrs. Cole said. The average household’s sewer bill was raised from $41.65 to $54.67 per quarter. She said that rate should remain relatively stable as the project is paid off by residents over the next three decades. The village has a population of 1,846, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

“We may have a small bump in the rate, but we’re really not sure because we don’t have hard numbers yet for the actual project costs,” Mrs. Cole said. “The grant funding has helped bring down costs, but we had to move forward with the project whether we had it or not.”

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