CLINTON — The Clinton City Council approved a resolution Tuesday night that clears the way for renovations at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Water Pollution Control Superintendent Gary Schellhorn addressed the issue saying some repairs to the plant have been done “in-house” in the past, but noted the current needs are more extensive and will require the attention of qualified specialists. He noted that Gil Janes of Howard R. Green was present to offer more insight on the subject.

Janes said the issue is an “enlightening situation” and commented the project is very important as the bar screen is the first line of defense for the plant, keeping large debris from damaging lines within the plant. He added the project is important for worker health and safety as the environment carries risk to workers in contact with wastewater. Janes explained that the work is not as simple as just replacing a couple of screens.

Janes said the existing, original bar screen was installed in 1963 and has failed. He said the screen is a single unit and has no standby. He told the council the plant has been making do with finer screens for the time being. He warned that new requirements are in place for the air ventilation system at the plant and the air ducts are in disrepair and need to be addressed. He added there is deterioration in the stairway at the plant and need to be replaced. Janes commented there are three options including do nothing, replace just the existing bar screen or provide two bar screens for redundancy.

Councilman At-Large Ron Mallicoat asked Janes how the plant could remain in operation while the repairs were being completed. Janes said there are time limits on how the project can be done and said the work would be challenging because the flow would have to be shut down to the plant for some time. Councilwoman At-Large Councilwoman Bette Oakley asked when the work would start and how long it would take to complete. Janes said the design would be completed this summer, ready for fall bidding and set for work to begin in winter. He advised that performing the renovations in winter would be optimal because flows are reduced due to less rain. Janes estimated a three-month process and projected the cost at $1.8 million for the bar screen and other renovations, with funding coming from State Revolving Fund loans.

City Administrator Gary Boden asked Schellhorn to provide the council with some direction on the issue. Schellhorn said that repairing the plant would not be wasted money and noted that the primary clarifier chains, flights and drive systems would be used for many years to come. He advised that the new plant would be a new organic processing facility and wastewater would be pumped from the primary treatment plant to the new facility. He commented he foresees the existing plant in service for many years.

The council approved a resolution for an engineering contract for the services of Howard R. Green Company in the amount of $193,575 to determine the conditions of the bar screens, clarifier chains and flights and grit removal system; recommend necessary repairs and prepare plans and specifications fo