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.

Anticipated work on the City of Tallassee sewage lagoon will serve the city well for years to come and meet deadlines for consent decrees.

The city’s wastewater treatment program has been in a redesign for several years to rectify issues of chlorination and projected needs. Since bids were coming in nearly $15 million over budget, engineers at CDG have been working to come up with a cost effective solution — fix what is already there to work with an approximate budget of $3.5 million.

“What we are looking at as far as this project, with the lagoon upgrade, we will be putting in an aeration system on the front end of the southern lagoon,” CDG’s Jeff Harrison said. Also putting in some new baffles and also putting in a new chlorination system. We are looking at an alternate bid for a septic receiving station. It will allow us to get back into compliance with a consent order which you currently under.”

Harrison said engineers have been working with various state agencies to ensure the work would be approved. Harrison said the work would allow another 40 years of use of the city’s current sewage lagoon system where it is permitted to treat 1.4 million gallons per day but only reaches about 700,000 gallons per day currently.

“That leaves us half the capacity of the plant remaining,” Harrison said. “We will have plenty of availability in the plant once this project is completed.”

The revamping of the lagoons also can be done within the timelines of the consent decree. Harrison said the design will be completed in December.

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“Once we get their review and approval we will move into the bidding aspect putting us in the first quarter of 2023. Then we are looking at construction starting somewhere in the March time frame and having it completed by December of next year,” Harrison said. “That works out well because our ADEM compliance right now is March 30, 2024. That puts us well ahead of that compliance schedule.”

With no hard numbers in yet, Councilman Bill Godwin is concerned about bids coming in over budget again.

“The original budget for this project was well before all the price increase, the scope of the project continued to escalate during the course of design, there was a lot of concrete on that project,” Harrison said. “It was going to be very labor intensive.”

Harrison said the original project would have served well but since projected industrial growth didn’t come, it wasn’t needed.

“This project is going to be much more straightforward, a lot less equipment and all of the pricing that we are looking at right now, we are within budget,” Harrison said. “It is taking into account the escalation to date and projecting the rise in cost for material and labor for the next year. These changes will bring us in on budget and back into compliance which is the important thing.”


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