Tonight the Pierre City Commission took action to move another major community investment forward. It approved the request to bid the wastewater treatment plant upgrade project.
This project will modernize the plant by replacing equipment, decommissioning old processes, and increasing the overall efficiency and resilience of the treatment system.
City Utility Director Brad Palmer admits it’s hard to get the general public real excited about this type of project.
“The average person isn’t naturally super interested in talking about wastewater treatment,” said Palmer. “But we really are making important changes to an essential community utility.”
Those important changes will impact how wastewater is treated from the time it is received at the wastewater treatment plant in southeast Pierre until it is fully treated and discharged into the Missouri River. That means a new pumping system to convey the wastewater through the plant, a new screening and grit removal system, new energy efficient blowers to supply oxygen to the microorganisms that reduce contaminants in the wastewater, a new discharge structure that provides flood protection, and a new odor control process.
Even with all the new equipment, the footprint of the plant will actually decrease.
“Like everything else, wastewater treatment processes have evolved and become more efficient over the years,” said Palmer. “We have a number of structures at the site that we will be able to decommission, demo, or repurpose.”
Additionally, Palmer says that thanks to new energy efficient equipment, the plant will require less electricity to operate.
The project, expected to be complete in 2022, is funded by a loan from the South Dakota Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources and will be repaid by user rates.
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 last year, the City finished an upgrade to the City’s electrical substations and distribution infrastructure; work has begun on the City’s drinking water treatment facility; and the wastewater treatment project will improve system reliability and efficiency.