From the outside looking in, you might not be able to tell that work is underway at Pierre’s wastewater treatment plant in southeast Pierre. However, those on the inside can tell you the renovation project has been moving along for weeks.
“Several walls have been busted out, wiring is getting moved around, our offices are migrating,” said Jacob Wagoner, Wastewater Superintendent.
It’s all part of the more than $15 million project that will, when complete, modernize the plant and decrease its footprint.
“We have to keep the plant fully functional throughout the entire construction process,” said Wagoner. “Consequently, the team is being pretty surgical with its demolition work.”
Although most of the work will occur within the perimeter fence of the plant, community members, especially those who use Pierre’s trail system, might soon start to see some changes. As part of the renovation, a new effluent line will connect the treatment plant to the Missouri River. That requires a pipe to be installed near the Lewis and Clark walking trail that runs between the river and the plant.
“The contractor will have some heavy equipment near the trail. For now, we’ll fence off the impacted wooded area to keep pedestrians safe,” said Nick Waters, Staff Engineer. “Eventually we’ll need to put a temporary detour on the walking path, but we’re not there yet.”
In the meantime, the plant is preparing to install a dewatering press. The press will condense materials that have been strained out during the treatment process. This allows those materials to be disposed of in a solid form.
The renovation project is expected to be complete by the beginning of 2023.
Pierre’s gravity-fed wastewater treatment plant receives an average 1.5 million gallons of wastewater each day through more than 60 miles of underground sanitary sewer line. Once fully treated at the wastewater treatment plant, it is discharged into the Missouri River.