PIQUA, Ohio (WDTN) – Friday, shovels in the ground here signaled the beginning of a $42 million overhaul of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
City utility workers and commissioners dug the first symbolic scoops of dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony at the current facility.
An Ohio Environmental Protection Agency mandate requires Piqua to address storm sewage overflow (SSO) that causes runoff of untreated wastewater into the nearby Great Miami River. The project comes on the heels of improvements to the city’s drinking water processing.
“The whole point in Piqua’s got great drinking consumption water,” said wastewater treatment superintendent Chris Melvin. “Now what we clean will be good for the river.”
In addition to eliminating SSO, the project will increase the plant’s capacity, build new structures in what’s currently a gravel pit and upgrade technology to breakdown harmful contaminants.
Piqua mayor Kazy Hinds said protecting and preserving the river is a major priority to the city’s future growth.
“We really see, for economic development and for our city, that acknowledging our river, using our river and celebrating our river is very important,” Hinds said.
The EPA set a project deadline of February 2020.
Piqua has already started an incremental increase for customers’ sewer rates. Over 4 years, the rates will rise by 20 percent.