By Chris Johnson
A $2.7 million project to repair and upgrade the Forreston wastewater treatment plant was approved Monday night.
“There were only two bids for the project which is hard to swallow,” said village president Michael Harn. “The low bidder is doing the sewer plant in Stillman Valley.”
Harn said Fehr, Graham & Associates, Freeport, recommended awarding the project to the low bidder, Leander Construction, Canton.
The board unanimously approved the project contingent on receiving the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) loan.
“The next step is to submit the loan paperwork to the IEPA,” said Village Engineer Mick Gronewold, of Fehr, Graham & Associates. “We will then receive a notice of a loan commitment. We then can award the project. In a perfect world we will hear back in four to six weeks.”
He said the loan cycle for the IEPA ends in September which could cause a delay in the application.
“I am expecting six weeks,” said Gronewold. “We will see.”
After receiving the loan approval from the IEPA it might take four weeks to complete the award paperwork and another four weeks for shop drawings, he said.
“The bulk of the work will be completed next spring because they have to order equipment.,” said Gronewold.
The upgrades will include a new box screening and grit removal building, new equipment, repairs to existing tanks, and a new clarifier to increase the plant’s capacity.
The payments on the loan will begin six months after the project is completed.
“Will the sewer rates cover the expense?” asked trustee Gary Buss. “Or raise rates again?”
“We planned to borrow $2.5 million at 2.5 percent interest,” said Gronewold. “We will see.”
Harn said the village raised rates early to get money put aside in a fund to help offset the loan.
“We will know when we get the loan approval if we need to raise the rates,’ said Gronewold. “Your rate structure is based on $2.5 million.”