Construction on a roughly $40 million replacement water plant for the City of Oak Ridge could start in the spring, and the facility could begin operating at the water intake on Melton Hill Lake in about two years.
Oak Ridge Public Works Director Shira McWaters provided an update about the water plant to the City Council during a non-voting work session on Tuesday evening.
Plans could go the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation this week, and then the project could go out to bid, McWaters said.
The project, which has been under way for several years, could cost about $43 million to S45 million, and it could take about 1.5 to two years to build, McWaters said. The plant, which would be south of Bethel Valley Road, would use membrane filtration, and it could be capable of producing up to 16 million gallons of water per day.
The water plant provides water to both the City of Oak Ridge and to U.S. Department of Energy sites, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex.
The current water plant is on a ridge top above the main entrance to Y-12 on Bear Creek Road. But there have been concerns about slope instability near the ridge top water plant, and that’s one reason that city officials have wanted to replace the 70-year-old facility. There was a landslide near the access road to the current water plant above Y-12 in February 2019.