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Jemison breaks ground on upgrades

The City of Jemison’s wastewater treatment plant is undergoing its second major upgrade toward doubling the plant’s capacity from 150,000 to 300,000 gallons a day.

In three and a half years, the city has spent right at $2 million on what Mayor Eddie Reed says are necessary upgrades regulated by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).

“Our plant was out of compliance, and ADEM had fined the city with 67 violations at $24,000 each,” Reed explained. “When our administration took over, Councilman Danny Robinson recognized the seriousness of it and presented our council with a plan to repair these upgrades.”

The mayor said the plant was not up to standard due to the lack of proper maintenance in past years.

“We inherited all this,” he said.

Newcomers to Jemison may not realize that the plant was never actually designed for the city, but for Jemison High School. With the added burden of homes and businesses, the plant quickly reached its capacity.

As the city continued to experience new growth, it had no choice but to issue new bonds or face $2 million worth of fines from ADEM.

“Sewage is a way of life in Jemison,” Reed said. “We have experienced problems, but thanks to the council and their financial planning we were able to stay ahead of the game.”

The new addition has a projected completion date of April 2009.