City council tours water plants in need of upgrades

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 10:31 PM CDT
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - City Council went on a public works tour Thursday. Council made stops at the water and wastewater plants. The city is eyeing tens of millions of dollars in upgrades and possible new construction to keep the city’s public works infrastructure on pace with projected growth.

“This was a real eye-opener for our council just to see what is needed, what is there and what should be there,” Mayor Jack Pahlmann told KY3.

At the wastewater plant, council heard how the 19-year-old facility can produce 3.7 million gallons per day, but can only put out 2.8 million gallons of that.

“Certain parts of the plant are no longer within their life-span. Things are breaking, wore out. We’ve done our best to keep that going,” Plant Operator Joshua Wortley explained.

An engineering study on the plant is nearly complete.

Council could vote to expand the current plant or build a separate plant.

If upgrades are made to the water plant, they too must me made to the wastewater plant.

During heavy rains, the plant processes double the amount of wastewater as it should.

“We’re operating certain pieces of equipment out there put in in 1979,” Water and wastewater supervisor Vernon Hunter said.

Council will vote Monday on a proposed study that will look at where infiltration is in the system and how to slow it down.

“It’s great that we get to see the capacity but also to see where we are starting to lag behind. In the future we’re not going to be able to produce enough water or process the old water,” councilman Mike Topliff added.

Mayor Jack Pahlmann says the city is looking at $120 million in upgrades to public works down the line.

“Fortunate we are a proactive city and thankfully our city administration is proactive on these things. You put things like this off, is this going to get worse, number one? Number two, it’s going to get more expensive,” Pahlmann said.

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