Kenner has awarded the contract for a $16.6 million upgrade to one of its wastewater treatment plants, the last piece of an $80 million overhaul of the city’s sewer system.
The City Council voted Thursday night to award the contract to increase the capacity of Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 3 to Max Foote Construction Co.
The city could not be reached for comment on when the work will be done, but officials previously have said all components of the decade-long overhaul should be completed by the end of next year.
In November, the city applied for a $15 million low-interest loan to replace one of its major force mains, demolish two decommissioned wastewater treatment plants and build a warehouse for the emergency generators that run the system during power outages.
Kenner’s sewer system overhaul dates back to 2004, when the city was cited by the state Department of Environmental Quality after inspections documented hundreds of overflows throughout the system.
Soil subsidence and lack of adequate maintenance had damaged the system to the point where heavy rains would overwhelm its pipes and sewage would flow out of manholes into the streets or back up in the toilets and drains of homes and businesses.
The city used the state’s low-interest loan program four times to the tune of about $74 million, along with $5 million in Louisiana Recovery Authority block grants and about $2 million from the city’s capital projects budget to do the work.
Kenner’s sewer system is fed by lines that depend on gravity to move waste to several lift stations, which are at the low points of the system. From there, force mains use pressure to move everything to the consolidated treatment plant on Veterans Memorial Boulevard at the West Return Levee near the St. Charles Parish line, where the waste is treated and discharged into the Mississippi River.
The city is also in the final stages of renegotiating its contract with the company that maintains and operates its sewer service. The council is expected to vote on that contract later this month.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.