GLEN ROSE – Residents of Glen Rose should be happy to know the city has already begun preparing for the required updates of its sewer facilities. Though one would be unable to tell a difference from turning on a sink or flushing a commode, the new sewer facilities will be state of the art, more efficient, and able to accommodate the growth and needs of the city.

The project is estimated to total around $9 million.

“Under the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, the rule is that when the capacity of your plant reaches 75 percent you have to start planning for improvements to raise the limits on the amount of influent coming into the plant,” Chester Nolen, city administrator, said. “When it reaches 90 percent you have to start construction. We are a little ahead of the curve, but we have received a $3,520,000 grant from the Texas Water Development Board, and then we have a $3,520,000 low-interest loan, and then we are funding the balance of it out of cash reserves - approximately $1,750,000. That’s just for plant and system improvements that need to be made if we’re going to be able to continue to support and grow and service our citizens.”

The city has been working on the grant and the Water Development Board funding for a couple of years.

“We are not quite at the 90 percent level yet, but since we have the funding available to us and the grant, the council – prior to my coming here - decided to pull the trigger and go ahead and move forward with it,” Nolen said.

Nolen speculated that the current level of the facilities is around 82 or 83 percent.

Most of the renovations will be in the plant itself, Nolen explained, and will be dealing with the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system - a computerized system that the public works director, Jim Holder, can monitor the pumps, valves, inflow, outflow, treatment options, chemicals, and more all from his desk. The city is still required to have operators on scene at the facilities, but the operations can be more efficiently monitored with the SCADA system.

“It’s just a matter of being able to more easily monitor and control the system that’s going on and what’s happening with it,” Nolen said.

One of the biggest changes for the plant is moving from an extended air plant to a sequential batch reactor.

“Instead of having a number of different treatment units per-se, the SBRs all of the treatment occurs in one facility - or in one environment,” Nolen explained. “It’s a large sealed unity and we will have two of those. All of the treatment will occur in each. They will operate serially to some extent, one will fill up and be filling and the other one will be treating. Then when one is completed treated and draining the other will be filling up and start the treatment process. It’ll switch back and forth between the two units.”

The city expects the construction to start sometime in either late summer or early fall, and will primarily take place at the wastewater treatment plant adjacent to the Expo Center.

“We’re probably at least 12 months, maybe 15 months, before construction is complete and start up of the new units,” Nolen said. “We’ll meet all the stat TCBQ standards for discharges, currently our influent goes into the Paluxy and out to the Squaw Valley Golf Course. It’ll be a higher quality influent and meeting all the standards.”