As of yesterday afternoon, Palmerton's new, state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant was completely operational.
The $10 million plant is fully online, said borough manager Rodger Danielson, who added "we've got all the parts of the plant right now operating, so it's going through it's full process."
In October, council agreed to extend the engineers overseeing timeline of the project. Danielson said at that time the extra engineering costs would likely be capped at about $50,000, and added the money to pay for the "construction oversight" would come "from the bond issue."
This past March, the borough granted its consent to allow a segment of Lower Towamensing Township to hook up to the borough's new plant, if necessary. At that time, council approved a sewage agreement with the township to accept sewage from the Weiner Trailer Court, as well as five homes along State Road, and possibly more units.
That decision came one week after the township's board of supervisors adopted the agreement. However, as part of their motion, supervisors would not sign the agreement until its Act 537 Plan was signed by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Council President Terry Costenbader previously noted the agreement would come at no extra expense to borough residents if a plant extension is required. Instead, it would come at Lower Towamensing's cost, he said.
Danielson previously said the agreement is in the event that portion of the township would require the actual hook up. The trailer court has about 60 units, with the possibility of expanding by another 30 or more, he previously said.
In September of 2011, 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 borough residents, that meant a hike in their monthly sewer rate bills, which increased $14.50, from $33.50 to $48.
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 2011, and was initially expected to take 18 months to complete.
The three SBR tanks were constructed using the precast concrete method and are the main treatment units in the project, David Schlott, of ARRO Consulting Engineering previously 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.