City looks to expand south WWTP in preparation for Hilmar Cheese

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe
An aerial view of the south Wastewater Treatment Plant and south biogas facility in Dodge City. The WWTP last was expanded in 2004.

The first phase for expansion of the south Wastewater Treatment Plant for Dodge City was approved by city commissioners as it approved an agreement with PEC Consultants for $546,000.

According to city officials, the agreement will be for the design and scope of services of the expansion as part of the preparation for the incoming Hilmar Cheese facility that will be coming into the city.

"Phase one of this design includes of the necessary surveying, easement, documentation, design up to 20% (20% per concept) and also to help the city solicit qualified contractors for a portion of the project which may be design-build which is probably going to be the actual facility itself," said director of engineering Ray Slattery.

According to Slattery, to make way for Hilmar Cheese, one of the biggest items with the expansion will be the need to increase wastewater flow from the plant and expected municipal growth and irrigation.

Slattery added that the process for expansion will be rapid due to Hilmar's scheduling on building the Dodge City facility.

"Again this is phase one," said Slattery. "Phase two we will be bringing back to you and that will be for the final design, once we make a decision if we'll do design-build or more traditional bids for design-bid build."

Funding will come from General Obligation Bonds.

Mayor Rick Sowers questioned on the estimated total for the design aspect of the project total which Slattery said, would come with an estimated $5 million with an estimated overall total for the project being $37 million.

According to city manager Nick Hernandez, Hilmar is expected to have a soft start to its facility running in the fall of 2023.

"One of the concerns I have is not putting the cart before the horse," commissioner Kent Smoll said. "So have they signed any letter of intent?"

Hernandez said Hilmar has signed with the state and a development agreement being worked on which should be ready within the next week.

"I'd rather have a development agreement than a LOC," said Sowers.

Smoll said he wanted to know where the city was at legally to, "Get it down so before we start spending $5 million here, $37 and a half million here, we know that there's a need for that."

Hernandez reiterated the development agreement will be presented to Hilmar within the week after review from legal counsel.

Additional funding opportunities for the overall project will, according to Hernandez, be done through grants that the city will be applying for.

"The other part that we didn't talk about this isn't just improvements for Hilmar," Hernandez said. "It actually is improvements for National Beef and for the south portion of Dodge City. So as we are expanding and seeing more development in that area, there is a significant improvements to our booster station because our booster station is close to 50 years old."

Commissioners approved the agreement for design and scope of services with PEC Consultants for the south WWTP expansion with a 5-0 vote.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@gannett.com