Water plant begins pumping

FAIRMONT – The new treatment plant began pumping water into Fairmont’s distribution system this month, a quiet switchover that took place with no fanfare to mark the years of planning and millions of dollars that went into the project.

“So far, everything’s been good,” Public Works director Troy Nemmers told the city’s Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday.

Operators got permission to occupy the plant earlier this month from Fairmont’s building official, a month later than engineers originally anticipated.

Employee training and testing of the new equipment began the week of Sept. 9, before any water from the plant was released into the city’s distribution system.

In coming weeks, the ornate entryway of the building will be completed, a task that requires cooperation of various subcontractors to finish painting and installing glass, drywall, terrazzo floors and a glass handrail.

Final completion for the new plant is slated for Oct. 19, but the project won’t end there. The old plant still needs to be razed. Demolition is expected to start in November and continue through the winter. The job will include restoring the shoreland.

Planning for the $30 million plant began six-plus years ago, and groundbreaking for the project was July 2011.