Susan Goebel-Canning, director of environmental services, said the redesign will cost about $300,000.
Hernando County operates three wastewater treatment plants, including the Airport Facility, the Osowaw Facility and the Glen Lakes Facility. The current plans are to construct an expansion to the Airport Facility and close the Osowaw Facility.
“The Department of Environmental Protection requires that when a plant gets to 75 percent capacity, you start the process to expand the plant,” Goebel-Canning said. “The County’s Airport Facility reached 75 percent several years ago and plans were started to expand. We actually reached 95 percent capacity last year and were able to implement some expansion and upgrades so now we’re operating well within the limits.”
Expansion plans were drawn up in 2007 based on population projections during a period of high growth in the region. The proposal was to expand the capacity of the Airport Facility from treating 1 million to 6 million gallons of wastewater daily.
Because the economy has slowed, Goebel-Canning said the plan redesign will take a phased approach. The first phase will add 2.5 million gallons, totaling to 3.5 million gallons daily.
This approach is projected to serve the county through 2025.
Goebel-Canning said the county will save several million dollars, and the second phase could be added to bring the total capacity to 6 million gallons, if needed.
Closing the Osowaw plant is also included in the plan because of odor and maintenance issues.
Hernando County District One Commissioner, Nick Nicholson, said they will be switching to a regionalized system.
“The wastewater that is going to Osowaw plant now will be diverted to Glen Lakes and the Airport,” Nicholson said.
Construction on the Airport Plant will begin summer 2014 and is expected to take two years to complete.
The Osowaw plant is scheduled be closed by 2016 and demolished by 2017.