Work at Palmerton's new wastewater treatment plant continues to progress at an efficient rate.

Borough manager Rodger Danielson told borough council on Thursday that the treatment plant could be operational by spring.

"Start up could begin next April," Danielson said. "We're moving right along."

Earlier this month, council adopted an ordinance to authorize the issuance of bonds to finance the $10 million treatment plant and related costs. The borough will borrow $10 million through a 30-year loan to pay for the new plant.

For residents, that means a hike in their monthly sewer rate bills, which is expected to see a rise from $33.50 to $48, or, a $14.50 increase, as of Jan. 1.

Danielson previously said the decision to borrow will result in a $60,000 savings per year over earlier bond estimates, or $1.8 million worth of savings over the life of the 30-year span.

The project got under way in May, and was expected to take 18 months to complete.

In February, council agreed to adopt an ordinance to borrow the $10 million as part of a three-year general obligation note through First Niagara Bank at a fixed interest rate of 2.85 percent.

That came after council agreed in January to advertise for the first reading of the ordinance for the borough to utilize interim financing over two years. Danielson said at that time the interim financing would address additional costs for engineering services, construction contingencies and change orders.

That same month, council agreed to the intent to award the wastewater treatment plant upgrade project to KC Construction Company of Ivyland, Bucks County, after David Schlott, of ARRO Consulting Engineers, recommended that council award the contract to KC Construction Company, pending the approval of financing for the project and review of the contractor's bonds and insurance.

The three SBR tanks will be constructed using the precast concrete method and are the main treatment units in the project, Schlott said. The SBR tanks measure 42 feet by 122 feet, and are the largest tanks in the treatment plant, he said.

In August 2010, council approved the acceptance of Carbon County bond financing after county commissioners approved an interest reduction loan that will issue economic development bonds.

The bonds are available through federal stimulus money, also known as the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

In other business, council:

Ÿ On a 6-0 vote, with Councilman Jason Behler absent, agreed to hire Donald Heiney, Jeffrey Hausman and Kyle Behler for leaf collection. Heiney will be paid $7.75 an hour, while Hausman and Behler will get $7.25 an hour.

Ÿ Agreed to hire Lamar Hedrick as an alternate crossing guard.

Ÿ Adopted an amendment to Ordinance 686, entitled vehicles and traffic.

Ÿ Approved a request to hold the Palmerton Halloween Parade at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16.

Ÿ Approved a request from the American Diabetes Association to use the borough park for a 5K run/walk on Aug. 18 of next year.

Ÿ Approved a request from the Christian Action Council of Palmerton Area Churches (CACPAC) to sponsor a Crop Walk on behalf of Church World Service at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9.

Ÿ Announced trick-or-treat night will be held in the borough from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26.