By Tim Leeds
An $8.4 million loan was approved Thursday, June 1, to upgrade the Havre water treatment plant.
Kelly Schafer, senior operator at the plant, said that work on the plant actually started a couple of weeks ago. He said they're slowly getting ready to begin the major work, and they hope to be able to have a lot done before the cold weather hits the area.
Schafer said the plan is to retrofit the pipes to allow the plant to provide water to the city while the upgrade is taking place.
"Hopefully, we can keep the plant going," he said. "That's the plan, anyway."
Schafer said the upgrade will increase the maximum number of gallons per day from 3.5 million gallons to 6.1 million, as well as increasing the number of filters, which will make it easier on the system.
He said the treatment plant runs 24-hours a day, and the current setup has a hard time keeping up with the demand. The upgrades will allow the plant to provide the service needed for the community and will also cause less stress than the current system, he said.
The loan was approved by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). The four percent, 23 year loan is through the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Program, administered by the DNRC and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.
Carollo Engineers of Boise, Idaho were awarded the 18-month project, which is expected to be finished in the fall of 2001. Carollo was hired in February of 1996 to make a facility study and proposals for an upgrade, said City Clerk Lowell Swenson. He said they presented the proposed upgrades in the beginning of 1997.
"It's been in the works for a while," he said.
Swenson said the plant is definitely in need of the upgrades to provide quality water service to the people of Havre.