MUB spokesman says upgrades should give facility an additional 30 years

While construction of the George B. Flegal Dam and Reservoir — more specifically the route of the raw water pipeline attached to it — has garnered more than its share of attention lately, its sister project in Star City continues as planned, according to the Morgantown Utility Board.
MUB spokesman Chris Dale said expansion and upgrades to MUB’s wastewater treatment plant are about 70% complete.
Dale said the work is on budget, with just over $78.6 million of the $101.8 million project budget expended so far.
The planned 42-month work schedule had an initial completion date of September 2020. That has since been contractually extended to January 2021.
When taken with the $50 million secondary source reservoir and pipeline, MUB General Manager Tim Ball has said the simultaneous projects represent the largest public works undertaking in the state’s history.
The cost of the work is being covered by customer rate increases — 33% to water rates and 87.5% to sewer rates — which took effect in July 2016.
The treatment plant, MUB explained at the time, was built in 1965 and is operating at its functional capacity. This work will increase the treatment capacity of the plant from the current
12 million gallons a day to 20.8 million gallons.
“We expect this upgrade to meet the needs of our growing community for at least 30 years before expansion is required,” Dale said, explaining the upgraded facility will use the latest technology, including a membrane treatment and an ultraviolet disinfection process that will eliminate the need for chlorination.
It was explained that the updates will also reduce the potential for impacts to local water resources and keep MUB ahead of expanding state and federal regulations.
Dale said construction of the membrane building and tanks are currently a major focus of the work, as is the expanded control building. Until the control building is complete, plant operations are being conducted from a temporary control center located in a trailer.
Due to the scope of the work, MUB purchased the neighboring property from 84 Lumber in March 2018 for $1.6 million to be used as a staging area.
It was explained at the time that the old 84 Lumber property could be the site of future expansion.
While MUB engineers remain onsite, the
project is being directed by Ulliman Schutte Construction.

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