Wastewater...Where Are We Now?

February 22, 2013

Two years ago, we published an article laying out the status of the Wastewater Department, the deficit under which they were operating and a list of prioritized projects to bring their equipment and facilities up to date.

Pine Creek Roof

We are proud to announce that over the summer, the roof was replaced at the Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility. The facility had a 32-year old flat roof that was beginning to leak water close to the main power source for the plant. This was one of the most immediate concerns because if water got into the power source, it had a potential to shut down the entire plant. Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility services half the residents of Prattville.

After much research and consideration, we chose to install a pitched seamless metal roof. It was $12,000 more than a flat roof, but has a 50-year life expectancy as opposed to the 10-year life expectancy on the flat roof. This roof was installed by a local Prattville business.

New roof.

Showing the water damage that was beginning to show over the main power source.

Pine Creek Grit Removal Blower

Of the two 33-year old grit removal blowers, only one was operational.

The two 33-year old grit removal blowers.

This is the new blower package that will be installed outside on a concrete slab next to the grit chamber (removes sand and small non-biodegradable debris from incoming wastewater). It will be plumbed in a way that will allow the old blowers to be utilized as emergency back up equipment.

Pine Creek Waste Pump Replacement

Another component of the project above was to replace the waste pump.


The blue device on the right is the new waste pump. It has been attached in such a way that the old pumps can still be utilized as an emergency backup system.

Collection System Bulldozer Repair

This bulldozer is a vital part of the collection system right-of-way maintenance program. The engine failed on the bulldozer and put the department in a predicament. Without this bulldozer, accessibility to the right-of-ways becomes nearly impossible in some areas. It would have cost Wastewater $20,000 to replace this dozer with a used one. Plant Manager Dale Gandy rebuilt the engine and Jody Fuller prepped and painted the bulldozer. The total cost of repairs was $3,500.





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Collection System Equipment Replacement

A 6x6 used for off-road collection system right-of-way maintenance. Having a 6-wheel drive dump truck is vital in difficult to reach areas. This 1960s era truck was worn out and a maintenance nightmare. It will be surplussed in the near future.

This 6x6 was newly acquired from the State Surplus lot. This truck was totally rebuilt by the United State Government in 2009 and is like a brand new truck. The list price for this vehicle is $80,000 and it was purchased for $7,200. Wastewater is excited about this addition to their fleet. Without the maintenance headaches, the department is much more efficient and productive.

This truck is old, isn't reliable, but was being used as a dump truck and also to pull their backhoe around. It will be surplussed in the near future.

This truck is the chassis that belonged to the recently retired Prattville Fire Engine 7. Wastewater purchased this truck from the Fire Department as they are managed through their enterprise fund account, not the general account. The body has been removed and will be replaced with a flat bed in order to be utilized to transport equipment wherever needed (backhoe, bulldozer, etc.)

Where Are We Now?

Sewer rates were increased two years ago to cover not only operational shortfalls (a $1 million deficiency between revenue and expenses), but also to begin repairing and replacing parts and equipment to bring Wastewater facilities up to date. All of this work, except for the roof, was done in-house by Wastewater employees, which continues to save the City and our rate-payers money.

There are two significant projects currently in the engineering stages: Old Lift Station #1 Revitalization and Ultraviolet Disinfectant System at the Pine Creek Plant.

Old Lift Station #1 is a project that will reduce the flow from the Pine Creek plant by 1 million gallons a day, sending it to the Autauga Creek plant. It is important because the Pine Creek treatment facility is getting close to its maximum daily capacity. The Autauga Creek plant needs more flow. The flows are not balanced between the two plants, because most of the new development is east of Highway 31. This diversion project will give the City a 3-5 year window to plan for the major expansion needed at the Pine Creek facility. This project will run approximately $300,000. The plant expansion is estimated to cost over $10 million.

The UV disinfectant system will be replacing a UV system that is approximately 15 years old. The efficiency and technology of the new system is much improved. The old system has become very expensive to maintain, when the parts are even available. The City of Prattville must comply with state and federal laws that govern the standards at which wastewater must be disinfected. This project will cost Wastewater approximately $300,000. 

Neither of these projects will be financed. These projects have been budgeted by Wastewater through fees collected and earmarked to make these important enhancements.

In the near future, we will also be working on a project to deal with the vast amount of groundwater that infiltrates our wastewater collection system, especially after dramatic rain events. We will keep you apprised of these three projects as we continue to better the Wastewater Department and the City of Prattville as a whole.