WORTHINGTON — Worthington Public Utilities (WPU) will continue working with Bolton and Menk of Mankato on preparation of final design services for the proposed new wastewater treatment plant.

WPU General Manager Scott Hain explained during Monday’s Water & Light Commission meeting that WPU staff had met with Bolton and Menk staff earlier in the month to review the preliminary design work for the planned facility. A proposal for final design services was also provided at that time.

WPU has worked with Bolton and Menk for approximately three years on taking inventory of and evaluating the current wastewater treatment plant, followed by a consideration of options moving forward. Preliminary engineering work for a new plant was wrapped up this spring, and the latest services presented by Bolton and Menk — and approved Monday by the Water & Light Commission — include final design, review and contract documents as well as bidding services and contract awards.

A not-to-exceed design fee of $1,100,000 for the final design and bidding of the facility — a figure that represents approximately 5.2% of the estimated construction cost of $21,050,000 — was calculated by Bolton & Menk and subsequently approved Monday. An hourly fee will be charged for the related services, which Bolton & Menk Principal Environment Engineer Kristopher J. Swanson indicated (in a correspondence with Hain that was shared with commissioners) represent more than 7,000 engineering and technical staff hours and about 25 staff members.

The new wastewater treatment facility will be constructed on land to the east of the existing plant, of which some to-be-refurbished components will continue to be utilized. The project will include a new treatment for wastewater that will remove phosphorus and other harmful nutrients from wastewater before discharge. The city’s current wastewater treatment facility, originally constructed in 1962, has gone through three renovation projects — in 1983, 1989 and 2000 — and a new plant was recommended during Bolton and Menk’s evaluation of the current site.

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On Friday afternoon, Hain discussed the timeframe for getting the new facility up and running.

“Final design work will go through about May of next year,” he explained. “In May or early June, it will go out for bid. A contract award would be in July, and construction would begin in August of 2021. It’s a solid two years of construction … and we’re looking at fall of 2023 for when it will be operational.”

In additional matters on Monday, the Water & Light Commission approved 2021 strategic financial plans for both the wastewater department and water department. Both plans include department budgets, five-year operation and maintenance expense summary, five-year capital improvement programs, equipment and vehicle revolving schedules, rate schedules and more. Each plan was approved as presented.