Contractors on the new Breckenridge, Minnesota, water treatment plant have been fine-tuning and debugging the system over the last few weeks. The target completion date is July 31.

The city’s Director of Public Services, Neil Crocker, said if all goes to plan, he expects the plant will solely be providing water to residents by the end of the week. Currently, water is being supplied by both the old plant and the new.

He said residents will not notice when the switchover is complete, as it will be seamless.

“Water is being run throughout the new plant and everything is working as it’s designed to,” he said.

Last week excess clay was being hauled off by semis to allow room for the final grading of the site, which is located just north of Twin Town Villa on Highway 75 in Breckenridge. The roadway area into the property will be paved, as well as the chemical receiving area.

Crocker said the debugging process has required diverting water back and forth from the old plant to the new plant. Even after the new facility is operating full time, the old plant will be kept in a state of readiness in the event it’s needed to be used in an emergency.

The construction project was delayed about three months from the original schedule, mainly due to weather-related issues in our area and a hurricane in Florida that severely damaged a manufacturing plant that was making a critical piece of equipment needed, Crocker said.

“Even though the construction has had some minor delays, it is still coming in on and slightly under budget,” he added.

He said he takes his hat off to the crew of PKG Contracting, Inc., as they’ve worked in severe weather conditions over the winter until the ground was too frozen to dig.

“They were out there covered in mud, slogging around, getting it done,” he said.

A walk-through the facility shows a clean and open interior with lots of windows and features a control system that connects to an app that can be accessed through a smartphone. Crocker said the technology is state-of-the-art and will allow city water plant workers to be able to check alarms and clear them, if needed, with the touch of a button on their phone. It’s all controlled through a computer system inside the plant, which will also have security features to prevent breeches.

It’s a big step up from the aging facility workers have done an excellent job of maintaining. Breckenridge’s original water plant is more than 80 years old.

The roughly $9 million project was awarded $5 million in grant funds from the state of Minnesota through Water Infrastructure Funding as part of former Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposed $219.7 million plan to modernize Minnesota’s aging infrastructure and protect groundwater from contamination. The city is bonding for less than $4 million.

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