A $1.54 million construction project at the Turkey Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to replace the plant's backup filtration system with what city staff said is a more efficient system was approved earlier this week by the council.

The council authorized a contract with the low bidder, McClanahan Construction Co., for the work. Council members earlier had approved conversion of the plant's main filter system from sand troughs to the filters.

The project generally consists of replacing the last two of the plant’s sand trough filters with diamond fabric filters. This project is being done to increase capacity for the treatment of wastewater before it is discharged into Turkey Creek.

Lynden Lawson, the city's operations manager for public works, said the change would help the plant maintain a larger capacity to discharge treated water if one of the main filters malfunctioned. He said that on a normal day, the plant discharges 10 million to 15 million gallons a day. But with the diamond fabric filters, that discharge can increase to 24 million gallons.

The new filters also mean the water is cleaner when it is discharged than with the sand trough method. It also is a faster operation, reducing a job to clear the water from a process that takes up to 1.5 hours down to five minutes, Lawson said.

Councilman Doug Lawson asked if there is adequate money in the sewer fund to pay for the project. Lawson said he checked and there is enough money in the sewer fund to cover the cost.

Councilman Keenan Cortez asked how long it would take to complete the project. Lawson said that depends on how long it takes to get the equipment and materials. He estimated the project would be done within nine months once it is started.

Other business

The council also approved a second change order for a flood control project under construction at Seventh Street and Illinois Avenue. The project involves lowering and widening a channel that drains stormwater from that area and adding more drainage inlets along Illinois Avenue to reduce risk of flooding to area businesses.

The change is to repair the banks of a section of the channel where this year’s heavy rains have loosened rock, exposing the banks to erosion. It also would provide for the installation of more drainage inlets in the Ewert Park parking lot near the drainage channel. The cost is $105,425.

Dan Johnson, assistant director of public works, said concrete blocks will be used to secure the channel walls from Seventh to 10th streets rather than rocks. He also said the parking lot work is needed because water is sitting on the parking lot rather than draining and that is eroding the lot's paved surface.

The council also advanced on first reading an agreement that would authorize the city to pass along federal homebuilding funds to Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity. The funding of $132,500 would be used by Habitat to build two homes as part of the Joplin HOME Consortium, an organization involving the city that provides for low-income housing.

Joplin HOME Consortium funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

In other business, the council:

• Advanced to final reading a request to annex about 1.7 acres of property near 32nd Street and John Duffy Drive in Wildwood Ranch for the construction of the Willow Vista Apartment Complex by Richard Benson, president of RBC Enterprises.

• Advanced to final reading a request to vacate a city utility easement located near the intersection of Newman and Range Line roads. The easement is no longer needed. It was for a sewer line that has been moved.

• Struck a request to change zoning at 2307 Connecticut Ave. from residential to commercial. The application was withdrawn by the property owner.

• Authorized the demolition of a dilapidated house at 812 S. Connor Ave. by Big John's for $3,699.

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