Construction of Toledo’s new Wastewater treatment plant began last week and an official groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Thursday morning.
Exacted to last 16 months, construction of the plant has been the ultimate goal of more than six years of effort by City Hall to identify and fund an upgrade to Toledo’s aging lagoon system. I was determined in 2011 that a new oxidation ditch system would be the most appropriate solution and, in 2013, the city was able to secure $6.4 million in county and state grants, on top of loans, to complete the project, which has been estimated to cost around $9.6 million.
According to Public Works Superintendent Craig McCown, the first phases of construction will include building access roads for the entry of heavy equipment to the plant, as well as construction of a new pump house at the corner of 5th St. and Oak St. He also said sludge from the bottom of the first lagoon is being drained in order to vacate it, as the new plant will be built in that area, and cautioned this process may produce an unusual level of odor from the plant in the coming days.
An official groundbreaking ceremony hosted by City Hall is expected to take place Thursday at 10 a.m. at the plant, located at 801 S. First St. Mayor Jerry Pratt is expected to speak while state officials and representatives from engineers Gary & Osborne, as well as contractors Rotschy Inc., are expected to be in attendance.
When discussing the progress of the plant during their April 21 meeting, the Toledo City Council voted to inform Rotschy Inc. of a variance available to those seeking a long-term stay in Kemp Olson Memorial park as an option for employees who will need local lodging during the project. Current regulations prevent a guest from staying longer than a week at a time, and no longer than two weeks total during the year, though provisions for a variance were written into such regulations.
Pratt said the unique circumstances posted by plant construction are reasonable grounds to grant a variance and the council voted four-to-one to extend the offer to Rotschy Inc. Opposed to the motion had been Council Member Nate Cook, who said he did not feel granting the variance would set a positive precedent for those who may, in the future, seek a long-term stay at the park against the better intentions of the council.