CLEAR FORK VALLEY – A concern in the minds of many in the Clear Fork Valley is about to be dealt with by Bellville Village Council officials and area professionals.
A council committee received updates on the project to revamp and replace waste water care in the area at a recent meeting in Bellville village hall.
Area residents have spoken frequently about the unpleasant aromas they have experienced while using the current waste water collection system.
The project will start with changes at the existing Bellville plant, where a fence will be constructed.
Existing 12-inch and 10-inch lines at that plant will be abandoned, and a 15-inch line installed to the new Bellville Pump Station.
The force main for this pump station will snake along State Route 97 and the Bike Trail to the site of a new regional waste water treatment plant in Butler.
Staff of K.E. McCartney and Associates (KEM), engineers, spoke about the improvements at the committee meeting.
Phil Lewis of KEM displayed drawings which show how the existing Bellville plant will be removed, and the upcoming area for the new plant in Butler.
Lewis said the pipeline to the new regional plant from Bellville will be a 14-inch force main. It will be about four miles long. The Village of Bellville will be responsible for operation and maintenance of that line.
Brian McCartney, president of KEM, said a new gravity line will move waste water from the mobile home park and Clear Fork High School and Middle School. The high and middle schools are also looking at the option of tying into the plant, and they will be paying for their share of the line, McCartney said.
The new Bellville pump station will have three pumps, due to varying pumping conditions. That many are required, Lewis said.
Bellville Mayor Teri Brenkus asked about handling of sludge. She said she had witnessed something looking like a block, which had come from a treatment plant. Lewis called that a “sludge cake.”
The removal of sludge has been a problem for Bellville, which has been trying to accommodate difficulties and odor problems.
This should not be a problem with the new plant, Lewis said, and people will be able to “get it cheap,” referring to the sludge.
McCartney spoke about the debt service fees. Original figures showed that up to $17 would have to be channeled through the billing system in advance, but that figure is now no more than $15.78.
The Village of Butler has already used that process so people there know how much money they are going to have to expend for the new system. Village administrator Larry Weirick said Bellville has had some trouble getting responses from residents on a survey which has been circulated.
Some people are wary of responding, officials said, because addresses must be provided. Also, weather has been a factor in getting people to respond, said Weirick.
The reconfiguration of the existing Bellville plant is viewed as positive by workers, said Weirick. He said people are “drooling about being able to store” more items in the fenced-in area.
Brenkus asked about the figures Butler and Bellville must use in figuring costs of operating the new plant. She asked what would happen if new residents moved into either area.
Weirick said the agreement between Butler and Bellville says Bellville’s share will be 66 percent. Butler’s will be the rest. That figure will not change, said Weirick.
The operating cost is expected to be $195,000 annually.
McCartney said planners are nearing the end of the project. Next, there will be advertising for bids. Lewis said that will be in mid-April.
That means bids should be in by the end of May, he said.
The start could be in August or September, and the facility should be “on line” the following year, said Lewis.
McCartney said Bellville should be implementing increases in bills, so people can get used to the idea of different costs.
Council member Vic Swisher said notations have been provided to residents on bills, so that they will know changes in dollars is debt service.
Swisher said he has had questions from people who want to know if new lift stations will smell. Lewis said the way of processing with the new regional plant should take care of any of those worries.