Officials: Calera sewer project could start soon

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 15, 2004

A Calera engineer said he expects to break ground this month on four sewer construction projects that will increase the city’s sewage treatment capacity four-fold.

Ben Carr of Carr & Associates Engineers, Inc., said a meeting was held last week with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Montgomery. He expected contractors to get the go-ahead to begin construction during Tuesday’s meeting.

Engineers at Carr & Associates Engineers, Inc., completed plans for the city’s sewer upgrades. The city recently received an additional $3.2 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help fund the sewage expansion.

The loan came in addition to an $8 million grant and partial loan the city received in 2003 from the USDA.

When bids were returned for construction of the city’s 3-million-gallon north end wastewater treatment plant which will be constructed near Camp Branch on Alabama Highway 70, Calera officials said the price was higher than estimated because of the rising cost of steel.

Once completed, engineers said Calera should be able to meet its sewage treatment needs indefinitely, since there is only a limited amount of space for the city to expand.

Currently, Calera has a sewage treatment capacity of 750,000 gallons per day. The original facility, located behind the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, was built in 1960, with additions in 1985.

Once the city’s sewage treatment upgrade is completed, its total capacity will be five million gallons per day.

In the meantime, plant superintendent Doug Smedley said the city treats up to 1.5 million gallons per day following a rain – twice the city’s maximum capacity.

Other projects will build a new, 3.5 million gallon a day treatment plant at Camp Branch.

The plant, which will be located just south of Highway 70 and east of Highway 42, will serve Calera businesses and residents north of the Super Wal-Mart, Carr said.

The other two projects involve expanding sewer lines. One of these sewer expansions will install sewer lines along Highway 31, just north of the Norfolk Southern Railroad.

The second sewage line project will route sewage from a pump station to the new Camp Branch treatment plant.

Carr said the total construction projects could take about a year to complete