Cliff Williams / The Tribune One of two City of Tallassee sewage treatment lagoons at work Monday. The Tallassee City Council has decided to salvage the lagoons to avoid paying $17 million for a new wastewater treatment facility, $12 million over estimates.

Costs of a mechanical sewage treatment system were out of reach of the City of Tallassee.

Court consent decrees are still forcing the city to do something about sewage treatment so engineers at CDG, a private engineering firm, went back to the drawing board. CDG’s Jeff Harrison said they quickly realized the city’s current lagoon system has another 40 years in it with some work. Harrison said the lagoon is now filled with solids that could be dredged out.

“It would give you 40 years at a current growth pattern,” Harrison told council members. “There is still plenty of capacity in the facility if we can just buy back the capacity taken up by the solids. If you have a sudden boom in growth, then it may change when you have to upgrade the system.”

Harrison said the current lagoon system is designed to handle 1.2 million gallons of sewage per day when the lagoons are operating properly. The previously proposed system would handle 2.4 million gallons of sewage per day.

“It was going to be state of the art,” Harrison said. “It was going to be a fantastic facility. As we all know, the time we are in with the cost of things, pushed this treatment plant to where it was well in excess of the funds available through the funding sources we have.”

The council previously rejected a $17 million bid for the project.

“It would probably be more than that if we rebid,” Harrison said.

Harrison said the depth of the lagoons should be about four and half to five feet deep.

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“Over the 50 to 60 years it has been in service has started to fill up,” Harrison said. “There are trees growing in it, mounds in it.”

Harrison estimated the cost for dredging the city’s two lagoons and properly disposing of the solids to be about $3 million.

Harrison said the dredging is possible because the lagoon has another 50 percent of capacity available when dredged out.

“We are basically buying back the capacity,” Harrison said.

Harrison also suggested rebuilding or replacing the aerators that help force oxygen in the sewage to allow biological treatment as well.

The city already has $4.4 million in grants and loans to do the project. $2.4 million is from the state revolving fund and would be paid back over 20 years at 1.99 percent interest rate.


Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc. He may be reached via email at