ALLENTOWN – Borough Council members have authorized the Roberts Engineering Group to advertise for bids for Allentown’s new waste water treatment plant.
On May 14, council President Thomas Fritts, Councilman Michael Drennan, Councilwoman Angela Anthony, Councilman John A. Elder III, Councilman Rob Schmitt and Councilman Robert Strovinsky voted “yes” on a motion to allow the engineering firm to seek bids for the project.
Mayor Greg Westfall said the move to seek bids is contingent on Allentown receiving permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
“We are hopeful things will fall into place soon,” Westfall said.
Council members have been discussing and planning the project for several years.
In 2017, council members adopted an ordinance appropriating $3.03 million for significant upgrades at the waste water treatment plant and authorizing the issuance of bonds in that amount to finance the project.
In April 2018, council members authorized the Roberts Engineering Group to advertise the project and seek bids from companies that wanted to undertake the work.
On May 31, 2018, council members rejected two bids that had been submitted by companies seeking a contract to build the new waste water treatment plant.
Westfall said the bids that were rejected exceeded the engineer’s original estimate for the treatment plant.
After rejecting the bids, council members authorized the Roberts Engineering Group to change from what had been planned as a new waste water treatment plant to what was described as a package plant. The firm has spent the past year designing the package plant.
Borough Engineer Carmela Roberts has said a package plant “is simply a design of new treatment units that have a small footprint with high intensity treatment. They can all be placed in a small area or not, depending on the available space.
“The Allentown treatment plant has many existing treatment units and our work will include determining the best location for the new units, to take advantage of the space, to not interfere with the existing treatment, and to provide a low cost,” Roberts said.
Allentown’s waste water treatment plant is off Breza Road. Officials have said one issue to be addressed by the upgrades is a situation in which the level of ammonia is over the limit set by the DEP for discharge into Doctors Creek.
Allentown has been fined more than $150,000 by the DEP as a result of that violation.
The construction of the new package plant will bring the water being discharged from the treatment plant into compliance with DEP standards, municipal officials have said.
Westfall has said Allentown’s waste water treatment plant was built in 1968 and upgraded in the early 1990s. He said the plant “has not been and is currently not meeting DEP standards for several water quality parameters.”