After more than a year, the project to eliminate the Festus sewage lagoon west of the Larry G. Crites Memorial Park (formerly West City Park) is almost finished, and under budget.
“The numbers are not finished, but it looks like it will come in under its budget of $3.2 million,” City Administrator Greg Camp said. “The actual physical labor is pretty much done.”
Above and Below Contracting of Festus was hired to complete the work, which began in September 2019.
The project not only called for the elimination of the lagoon but also the installation of about 12,200 linear feet of 10-inch force main pipe and pump stations to transport sewage eastward to the Festus-Crystal City Sewage Plant on County Road in Crystal City.
While the sewer line was installed, streets all around the city were torn up and repaired as part of the project.
“The forced sewage went online in August,” Camp said. “It was at that point they began pumping down the lagoon. We considered the lagoon gone in mid-October.”
That means those who live near the lagoon should no longer experience the awful smell the lagoon produced at some point each winter, Camp said.
Festus officials decided to eliminate the lagoon, which was created around 2000, after four-plus years of discussions about what to do with it in the face of stricter federal regulations regarding emissions into waterways. The property is near Joachim Creek and its tributaries.
The city received a number of extensions from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to deal with the situation over the years.
The lagoon served about 250 homes in the northwest part of Festus, an area where city officials feel potential development could lead to nearly twice that number of homes.
Camp said the DNR still must sign off on the project, but he believes the agency will give its approval.
“The concerns of DNR are gone,” Camp said.
Other than the DNR approval, the project is just about wrapped up, he said.
“Basically, where we are is the contractor still needs to deliver spare parts and warranties to the city.”
Camp said city officials have not yet decided what to do with the land where the sewage lagoon sat, but whatever is done must meet federal floodplain guidelines.
“That whole area has been hydroseeded,” he said. “That’s where they spray the seed on the ground. We may have grass before it gets cold.”
Camp said city leaders are glad the project is essentially done.
“It’s one less thing to worry about,” he said.