In its most recent move to enhance utilities in the City of Pierre, tonight the Pierre City Commission approved a bond resolution to secure funding for a $15.3 million upgrade at the City’s wastewater treatment plant.
The plant, located in southeast Pierre, processes about 1.5 million gallons of wastewater each day. And the infrastructure that does all that work is wearing out.
“Some of our equipment is 20 years old or so,” said Brad Palmer, City Utilities Director. “To keep the plant operating, we need to replace some of the infrastructure.”
Changes include new piping to take the wastewater to the aeriation basins, the first step in the treatment process. Additionally, the aged primary clarifier, which screens out solids, will be removed, piping on the back end of the process will be replaced, and a new structure will be built to help with flood protection.
While those pieces makes up the lion’s share of the project, Palmer says that the new odor control process will likely be of most interest to the general public.
“We’re installing a biofiltration unit that’s designed to capture gasses during the treatment process,” said Palmer. “After being captured, the odorous gasses will be run through wood chip and stone to diminish the smell.”
The project will be funded by a loan from the South Dakota Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources and repaid by existing user rates. Work is expected to begin early next year and be completed by early 2022.
The City of Pierre provides three primary utility services –electric, water, and wastewater. All three have either undergone or are in the process of undergoing major modernization. Just this year, the City finished up an eight-year upgrade to the City’s electrical substations and distribution infrastructure; next month, work will being on the City’s new Water Treatment Facility; and this project at the wastewater treatment plant will wrap up four years of phased-in modernization.
“These aren’t the kind of projects that get people super excited, but it is absolutely essential for communities to have reliable, modern utility services,” said Pierre Mayor Steve Harding. “I’m pleased the Commission has been positioned to support all of these efforts to provide our citizens with solid utilities.”