Road closures are expected on several Festus streets over the next couple of months as crews work to replace pipeline as part of the project to eliminate the Festus sewage lagoon near West City Park, Public Works Superintendent Matt Clemens said.
The $3.2 million project, which includes installing about 12,200 linear feet of 10-inch force main and eliminating the lagoon, began in early September and is slowly progressing, he said.
Clemens said the contractor, Above and Below Contracting in Festus, estimates the pipeline work will be finished by the end of the year, which also would bring an end to the street closures.
However, Clemens cautions that obstacles like moving utility lines could greatly lengthen the time it takes to finish installing the pipe.
“(The contractor) said by the end of the year he should have all of the force main line installed from Festus Centre Drive to the Ludwig lift station (near Ludwig Nature Area on the east side of West City Park),” Clemens said. “When that’s done, he plans in March to have all the Ludwig lift station upgrades done and the new lift station installed and operating (where the lagoon is now).”
Clemens said pipe-laying work kicked off at Festus Centre Drive near Jokerst Memorial Drive.
“They’re in the process of installing pipe for the new force main pipe for the lagoon closure,” he said. “That was the start, but they’re going backward from Festus Centre Drive (toward the lagoon).”
Clemens said the contractor currently is working on Henry Street, a curvy road that is particularly challenging for construction crews.
“They will go down Henry and cross West Main to Walnut and will go over Walnut to Fifth, then take a left on Fifth and go all the way to the Ludwig pump station (off Old Hwy. A). It’s just before the bridge over Joachim Creek going into West City Park.”
Clemens said travelers in the city can expect detours on those various streets as the pipeline project continues in the months ahead.
The extension of pipe from Henry to Walnut means even the much-traveled West Main Street will be closed for however long it takes Above and Below to complete work there, Clemens said.
“The contractor is responsible for all detours and flaggers.”
The contractor plans to eliminate the lagoon next summer after draining it and letting the ground dry, Clemens said.
When the overall project finishes, the lagoon will be gone and all of the city’s sewage will flow to the Festus-Crystal City Sewage Treatment Plant on County Road in Crystal City.
The pump station at Ludwig Nature Area, which had pumped sewage westward to the lagoon, will switch direction and pump sewage toward the sewage plant, Clemens said.
Festus is eliminating the lagoon, which was created around 2000, after at least four years of discussions over what to do about it in the face of stricter federal regulations regarding emissions into waterways. The lagoon is near Joachim Creek and its tributaries.
The lagoon currently serves about 250 homes in the northwest part of Festus. However, potential development could nearly double that number, City Administrator Greg Camp said.