The $34 million expansion of Yankton’s 1972 water treatment plant has hit some weather-related snags, but the show still goes on as officials prepare to bring it online.
Director of Environmental Services Kyle Goodmanson told the Press & Dakotan that wet weather has been putting some parts of the project behind.
"The biggest one that’s holding them up right now is the membrane on the roof that they have to put in," Goodmanson said. "It’s got to be completely dry and they’ve got to have good weather, and they’re just having a hard time getting that roof down. It’s a slow process and it seems like about every time you really start making some headway, you get another rain event and they spend two days trying to get the under layer dry so we can continue."
He said that other facets of construction are seeing fewer issues.
"Construction looks like it’s moving along pretty much as scheduled," he said. "Most of the sub-contractors are where they want to be."
While construction is moving along, Goodmanson said the setup in a month as Riverboat Days commences will largely look as it did last year.
He said the vast majority of the ongoing work isn’t visible to the general public.
"Everything has pretty much moved inside," he said. "There’s been a little work outside on some of that backfill. Most of the exterior block is on, but we have a little finish up work on that. We’ll be starting to see some of the sidewalks going in pretty quick. Inside, it’s mainly the electricians running (wiring). The equipment’s basically all installed; now they’re starting to (run) smaller piping to the equipment, running all of the power and communication wires. Most of the HVAC is installed; they’re just doing the finishing touches of tying in each unit."
Sheetrock and painting is also largely completed, with windows onsite ready for installation.
This spring, the water plant was hit by vandals on multiple occasions, but Goodmanson said this didn’t heavily affect the construction process.
"A lot of it was just spray paint on walls," he said. "They were walls that hadn’t been finished so a lot of stuff got painted over. They did throw some tools that were laying around into some of the water basins. They had to take some basins down and chlorinate them and disinfect them before we put them back into service. But, overall, there was no real major damage."
Plans are currently to get the new water facility online and running by Nov. 1. With much of the equipment already onsite, Goodmanson said the process of bringing it online will begin soon.
"In the next few weeks, we’ll start having a lot of the vendors come in that supplied the equipment and doing our onsite training of each piece of equipment," he said. "As we’re doing that, we’ll start firing up test runs of each piece of equipment to make sure they’ve got each piece of equipment dialed in before we start firing up the entire process."
He said that the first test runs won’t necessarily go through the system as a whole.
"The first few batches of water that we run through the membranes will just discharge to the sewer system rather than the distribution system just to make sure we’ve got all the parameters met we need to before sending it to the customers," he said. "We’ll probably start making water in October and, hopefully by November, we’ll actually be putting water into the system."
He said as the new plant comes online, the process will begin to decommission the 1929 plant just west of the Meridian Bridge.
"As we work through the winter, we’ll start bringing that offline, start moving the office stuff down to the other plant through the winter and next spring," he said. "Next year, at some point, the (City) Commission will have to make a decision on how to move forward with future uses of that building."
Final completion of the new water treatment facility is slated for 2020. Some landscaping will wait until next spring, but Goodmanson expects the bike trail to be reestablished this fall.
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