City and county officials, engineers and contractors gathered Thursday morning to dedicate Somerset’s new $14.9 million Pitman Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant that recently went on line.
“It’s a great day for Pulaski County and Somerset ... now and for the future,” said Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler. “It is a great project, one that went smoothly ... and it’s wonderful to come under budget.”
The new sewage-treatment plant is one of the most updated in Kentucky. “It is so futuristic ... so computer driven, it could be operated by one man,” said Charlie Dick, the city’s utilities manager.
Sewage entering Pitman Creek from the new plant “ ... is drinkable when treated,” said Dick. Among the plant’s innovations are ultraviolet lights over which treated water runs. Ultraviolet light rays add a final purification step that eliminates need for chlorine. The effluent is also aerated by two blowers followed by a step cascade system prior to being discharged into Pitman Creek.
Called an “Oxidation Ditch” plant, the new sewerage facility is at the same site of the Pitman Creek plant built in 1970. The new facility will increase treatment capacity from 3 million to 4.4 millions gallons a day, Dick said. It has a peak flow of 12 million gallons a day.
Average daily flow into former Pitman Creek plant was 2.2 million gallons a day. However, like most sewerage systems, Somerset’s sewer lines are subject to inflows of surface water. Somerset city engineer Alex Godsey said the new waste water facility easily handled the 6-inch rainfall earlier this week.
Godsey said the plant is laid out so that it can be upgraded to a treatment capacity of 8.8 million gallons a day, sufficient for the city’s needs during the next 25 to 30 years. Currently more than 99 percent of homes and businesses in the corporate limits are served by the city’s sewerage system.
The new treatment plant was financed with more than $6 million in EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) grants and an $8.4 million loan from (K!A) Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (K!A).
Somerset also has a sewage-treatment plant on Sinking Creek near the former Somerset Refinery property. “The Pitman Creek (new) plant is the main one,” said Dick. “The Sinking Creek plant pre-treats sewage and sends it to the Pitman Creek plant.”
A new 6,000-square foot maintenance building and an access road were built at the Sinking Creek plant with money “under budget” from the Pitman Creek project, Girdler said.
W. Rogers Company, Lexington, was the general contractor and the plant was engineered by HDR Engineering Inc. Ground was broken for the facility September 9, 2009.