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Sewer plant is almost finished

Wastewater will soon be flowing through the new $10 million treatment facility in Polo.

Alderman Randy Schoon and Mike Gauthier, superintendent of public works and operator, held a tour of the facility last week to show the progress of the project.

"Before I was elected to the city council I did not think Polo needed a new wastewater plant," said Schoon.  "Once I saw the old facility I realized we needed to do something."

Schoon said the sewer plant is something people do not think about as long as their bathrooms are working.

The existing facility is aging and is not able to meet Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) standards.

Numerous small projects need to be completed before the plant is operational.

In the lab building trim and faceplates need to install.  It is this type of work that needs to be completed.

The major work to be completed will be done during training and start-up.

Controlling the new equipment is operated through Siemens control panels.  Gauthier and operator Mike Mumford need to be trained to use this equipment.

"We will have alarms on all these systems and will have access on smartphones and our computer to see what the issue is," said Gauthier.

During late nights and holidays the operators will know what needs to be fixed. With the computer monitoring some of the small fixes can be done by adjusting settings on the computer.

This could reduce the need for the operators to drive out to the plant in the middle of the night for something that does not need to be addressed immediately.

They also need to do tests on the machines and systems in the wastewater plant and complete IEPA testing before the plant is declared fully operational.

In the pump room it is clear the Polo officials planned for a wastewater plant for the future.

"This pump room has space for expansion," said Schoon. "They did a very nice job down here."

The pumps and piping are positioned in a way that allows for easy access to every part for future maintenance needs.

Ample floor space means pumps can be added if needed without making the room crowded.

A new piece of equipment installed at the wastewater plant is a tea cup machine.

"This machine will remove grit and abrasives from the plant," said Gauthier. "At the old plant we needed to shovel the grit into buckets and carry it to dumpsters."

He said the tea cup will automate this process.

"Removing grit is important because it reduces the wear and tear on everything else in the plant," Gauthier said.

Outside the buildings at the facility is the large digester tank.

The tank was designed to allow extra capacity to the system in the future.

"We have room to expand this plant," said Schoon.

A benefit of a new wastewater plant is the efficiency new technology offers.

"The new equipment is more efficient and quieter then our old plant," said Gauthier. "We also have adequate ventilation systems for all the buildings.

Willett Hofmann & Associates, Dixon, is the company overseeing construction.

Depending on the weather, the start-up process for the plant may can begin in April.

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