Marathon says two sewer plants are most challenging

The city of Marathon has final received the final version of Wade-Trim Engineering Consultants' engineering and planning study of the city's wastewater system and Utilities Director Dan Saus said the system should be in good shape in the years to come.

"I believe the report shows that the system is more than adequate for the city's needs and that the system will stay reliable with the proper preventative and corrective maintenance," Saus said.

The $447,232 study, paid for through grant funding, is 418 pages.

One of the costliest suggestions in it comes in at $6,388,000 for force mains and pump stations at wastewater treatment plants 3 and 6. Treatment plant 3 is between the Marathon Community Park and American Legion Post 154. It serves homes and businesses from 39th Street down to the beginning of Knights Key.

Treatment plant 6 is on Coco Plum Drive, serving the north end of the city from Vaca Cut to Coco Plum.

Saus believes the city can reduce costs by installing a force main to address the biggest users in those areas.

A force main is a pipeline that transports wastewater from a pump site to a discharge point, usually a tank from where wastewater can be transported away. A lift station moves wastewater from low elevations to higher ones with pipes.

With numerous hotels and mobile-home parks at the south end of town, treatment plant 3 is definitely the busiest in the city.

"The most surprising thing was the strength of the wastewater at the service area three plant," Saus said. "It is quite a bit stronger than the waste in all of the other areas of the city."

The Hyatt Place Hotel and Faro Blanco Resort & Marina and Tranquility Bay Resort are among the biggest contributors of wastewater in treatment plant 3's service area (a Courtyard by Marriot is also under construction in that area).

Fishermen's Community Hospital, Trailerama and the Galway Bay mobile-home park also contribute a significant amount of wastewater.

"It is our intention to install the force mains and remove only the largest users and then re-evaluate," Saus said. "Since these customers are already connected, the city would install the needed pumping systems for these customers."

Deputy City Manager George Garrett has said the city has $17 million in so-called Mayfield grant money, part of $200 million allocated by the Legislature for Keys sewer projects in 2009. That money is expected to be used for sewer updates, Saus said.

The state Cabinet allocated the first $50 million of the grant in 2012. A second $50 million was later released. The county and the municipalities all get a share.