For the week of April 14, 1999  thru April 20, 1999  

Sewer district unveils million-dollar expansion plan

Construction slated over the next six years

Express Staff Writer

a14sewage.jpg (12587 bytes)Superintendent David Swindle, standing beside an aeration tank that helps process waste, explains the need for expansion at the Ketchum/Sun Valley sewage treatment plant. (Express photo by Willy Cook)

The Ketchum/Sun Valley Water and Sewer District is feeling the pinch as its two cities fight for more elbow room to expand.

In response to projected growth, the district has kicked off the beginning of a million-dollar multi-phase improvement plan.

This summer’s improvements will cost the water and sewer district roughly $850,000, according to plant superintendant David Swindle. Including planning, engineering and design of the new facilities, the cost tops off at about $1 million.

The improvements will be paid for exclusively through sewer fees that residents pay. Funds are being pulled at a rate of 50 percent from Ketchum and 50 percent from Sun Valley.

The Wastewater Facilities Plan, prepared by engineering consultants CH2MHILL, includes new waste loading and sludge storage facilities.

The existing treatment plant processes waste from Ketchum, Sun Valley and Elkhorn via three gravity-driven pipe lines. Waste is processed through the plant in several steps that include filtering, aeration and settling.

When treatment concludes, clean water is returned to the Big Wood River and solid waste is hauled off the site.

This summer, a new liquid sludge loading building will replace the outdoor facilities currently in place. The loading facilities are the last step in the treatment process and are used to pump processed waste into trucks. The waste is then hauled to Ohio Gulch, where the district has six drying lagoons.

Currently, no spill protection is available at the outdoor loading area, Swindle said. The new building will employ this protective measure. Also, the indoor facility will provide storage facilities for trucks and supplies, as well as an area to clean vehicles.

The indoor facility will improve the plant’s overall efficiency, Swindle said.

The sludge storage tank will also undergo improvements this summer. The tank provides the second-to-last step in processing waste.

Currently, the tank is used only for storage, but after this summer’s construction, it will also serve to further break down waste.

Several new aerators will replace the primitive mixers that are currently used, Swindle said. Their installation should also cut down on the odor that often wafts from the facility.

The idea of making improvements now, Swindle said, is to have the ability to handle an increased population before it exists. This is what he refers to as "projected build-out."

In order to handle the cities’ projected build-out-- when every lot is built to its maximum-allowed density-- the district must complete the next phase, which includes construction of a new clarifier or settling tank. A clarifier separates waste from water.

The new clarifier will replace the current 1960s model. The new addition will complement the more modern 1985 clarifier that is also currently in use. Construction should commence within the next three years, Swindle said.

Another aeration basin is also slated for construction in the near future. Aeration basins are where the brunt of the biological breakdown of wastes occurs. This project is slated to take place within the next six years, Swindle said.

New office buildings and personnel-oriented facilities will also be built, according to the plan.

"We’re very fortunate with the amount of space we have to build on," Swindle said. "We have plenty of room to expand and have buffers around the edges of the property."


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