The city of Alamo will soon break ground on its new mechanical wastewater treatment plant funded with $11 million in state money.

A groundbreaking ceremony was originally scheduled for July 29, however the ceremony had to be rescheduled as a result of Hurricane Hanna.

The new plant will be located on a patch of land roughly 2 acres in size in the area of 1509 South Tower Road, just down the road from the old treatment plant.

“The system is an antiquated system,” City Manager Robert “Bobby” Salinas said Wednesday. “Finally, we’re going from a really antiquated system to one of the newest types of sewer plants. It’s not going to be your classic racetrack-type sewer plant.”

The city will be moving on from its old lagoon system plant to a 2.5 MGD (millions of gallons per day) mechanical treatment plant, otherwise known as a sequencing batch reactor, or SBR plant.

The new plant received $11,250,000 from the Texas Water Development Board for the new facility, of which $10,187,438 was used for the construction alone. The construction will be conducted by JMJ Construction.

“We used to receive a lot of complaints from the adjacent neighborhoods that lived to the north of that site of the lagoons,” Salinas said. “We were getting a lot of complaints in regards to the sewer odor. Because we are at the mercy of the weather with the lagoon system, if we have a lot of days where the sun is not out, it doesn’t allow the proper growth of the (microbes) that control the odor. This new system gets rid of that. With the new mechanical system, we don’t need to rely on the weather. It just goes through a processing plant and basically sends out clean water to the regular system that we have.

“It’ll be a lot more efficient and of course a lot more cleaner I think as far as the effluent coming out of it.”

Workers construct a new mechanical wastewater treatment plant near Alamo Road on Wednesday in Alamo. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

According to Salinas, the construction company is given 540 calendar days to complete the plant. Construction began in July.

“The completion should be in December 2021,” Salinas said. “The estimated full completion should be February 2022.”

Salinas said that he has a number of ideas for how to use the area where the old plant is located, including leasing the land to local farmers.

“I’m really going back and forth on what we can do with it because basically we’re gonna have to get rid of the lagoons,” Salinas said. “We’re going to pump out all the water. We have to process it — go through TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) and make sure that we do everything up to their standards. After that, basically it would be open acreage that could be leased out.”

The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9.