With a unanimous vote Tuesday, officials finalized the largest purchase in the City of Dothan’s history.
Dothan City Commissioners approved a change order in the contract to refurbish and expand the Omussee Wastewater Treatment Plant during a Tuesday meeting. The change order actually reduced the contract to $39,206,254.04, a savings of $18,745.96 from the original contract signed in 2016.
Angie Akos, Dothan Utilities water operations superintendent, said the contract produced the single largest purchase order in the city’s history. Those involved celebrated the contract’s completion given the enormity of the project.
“It’s been a long couple of years,” Akos said. “I’ve actually built a house (since it started). It was a big endeavor. We learned a lot.”
“We’re glad it’s over, but it was an exciting process, too,” added Tonny Peters of Barge Design Solutions, the engineering firm the city contracted to help with the project. “It was a lot of great improvements.”
The initiative included several improvements and expansions like new processing basins, new processing equipment, introduction of a sand filter system, new pumps, and clarifiers. The facility also contributes an extra sludge processing facility for the city, Akos said.
Existing infrastructure components were refurbished as well. Overall the upgrades increased Omussee’s effective processing capacity by about two million gallons, said Jeff Dykes, the plant’s operations manager.
“It allows us to be able to process (the sewer flows) we are getting and meet permit without any violations,” Akos said.
“We can provide better quality treatment when it rains than previously, and that’s going to be a great benefit on the environmental impact,” Peters added.
Since 2008, the City of Dothan has invested more than $118 million in upgrades to its sewerage system, most of which is intended to satisfy an Environmental Protection Agency order to reduce sanitary sewer flows. While the Omussee project was not a part of the EPA order, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management included it as part of a settlement with the city, Akos said.
Akos noted the city had already initiated the Omussee improvements when ADEM made the agreement, and the organization has approved of all of the upgrades made.
The extended capacity of Omussee could trigger growth on Dothan’s east side since the system can handle more homes and businesses, something District 6 Commissioner David Crutchfield applauded after Tuesday’s meeting.
“We’re prepared for growth in that area of town,” he said. “We were at capacity there. You never want to turn somebody down that wants to bring a business here. It’s nice to be ahead sometimes. We’re prepared for the future.”