Calera gets $8 million for sewer

The city of Calera was recently given an $8 million check to build a new wastewater treatment facility near highway 70.

The sewer project will be funded through a $3.4 million grant and a $4.6 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Calera’s booming population and an influx of new businesses in recent years led to the need for updated wastewater facilities, city officials said.

Mayor George Roy accepted the check at Oliver Park last Friday from Steve Pelham, State Director of USDA Rural Development.

&uot;Calera’s new wastewater treatment facility is a shining example of balancing economic growth while protecting the surrounding environment,&uot; Pelham said.

The city agreed to build the plant at the location near highway 70 after several residents objected to a proposed location about a mile away.

Representatives of the group &uot;Friends of Camp Branch Creek&uot; suggested the city council look at an alternate site after claims that the original proposal was too close to homes in the area.

Roy and the council agreed on the new location after an archaeological survey revealed no artifacts there.

The new plant will treat around 3.5 million gallons of water a day, according to Ben Carr of Carr and Associates, the company heading the project.

He said the plant should be in the detail and design stage this spring and could be in operation as early as fall 2004.

Carr said the new plant will use the most recent technology available and could double the city’s wastewater treatment capabilities.

By utilizing the federal funds, Calera is expected to upgrade the city wastewater system to serve more than 2,100 residential and commercial users.

Funding for Calera’s sewer upgrade was part of $105 million for 45 water and wastewater infrastructure projects in 29 states announced by Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman