The City of Zephyrhills is pursuing federal dollars to help pay for a new master lift station located in the vicinity of Otis Allen Road and 23rd Street.
The project — yet to be designed — calls for a new duplex master lift station with provisions to be upgraded to a triplex station when needed; an emergency generator; and, 17,000 linear feet of 8-inch and 10-inch HPDE (High Density Polyethylene) force main piping.
Zephyrhills is requesting $1.5 million in federal funding, which equates to 37.5% of the overall cost of the estimated $4 million project.
Zephyrhills City Manager Billy Poe said the opportunity to secure federal dollars comes about as federal lawmakers recently reinstated the process of earmarking for local governments and nonprofits, otherwise referred to as community project funding.
With that, an approved congressional request package has been sent to the office of U.S. Rep Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, who’s told city leaders he will offer his support for the project through the legislative budgeting process.
The action approving the latest drafted package for the congressman’s office came during an April 26 regular meeting of the Zephyrhills City Council.
Zephyrhills has not been given a time frame regarding when they will know whether their grant request has been approved.
However, the plans to move ahead on the project are not contingent on receiving the federal money, Poe said. It will need to evaluate other funding options, if the federal request is denied, he said.
Based on prepared documents, the municipality looks to have the project’s design and bidding process complete by January, which includes determining the location of the station and the best route for the piping.
If on track from there, construction is expected to begin sometime in February and run through December, with the project being fully online and operational by January 2023.
Poe explained the need for the project, in a memo to council members.
The city’s existing wastewater infrastructure is at capacity and cannot accommodate additional flow from the north side of the city to the advanced wastewater treatment facility on the south side of the city, Poe explained in the memo.
The initiative is intended to assist with wastewater systems improvements to allow the city to balance wastewater flow, to provide water quality protection, and to support water supply needs in the Hillsborough River Basin.
The proposed improvements include a force main and associated lift stations that will allow the city to take approximately 200 residents off either septic systems or aging package plant facilities and instead send this wastewater flow to the city’s AWT (Advanced Wastewater Treatment) plant.
Poe and other city officials also said the project will ensure that future development will connect to centralized wastewater disposal facilities, therefore preventing installation of future septic systems and package plants near sensitive ecosystems.
In simpler terms, Poe said, “This will help to accommodate growth and take some pressure off the existing system.”
Councilman Ken Burgess supports the improvement, saying, “I think this is a much-needed project.”
The Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce and the Zephyrhills Economic Development Coalition also sent letters to Bilirakis, supporting the project.
In part, Melonie Monson, chamber director, wrote: “East Pasco County, including the Zephyrhills community, is experiencing accelerated growth in recent years, and is poised to become the number one place to live. The addition of this new lift station would grant future development the ability to connect to the city wastewater with confidence and ease.
“We know you recognize the need to move away from old septic systems, which could hold potential risk, and into a streamlined and safe wastewater disposal system. It is important for our city to offer adequate infrastructure to its residents and this wastewater system improvement and would be a step in that direction. We applaud our state and city leaders who are working to better our community.
“We ask for your support in this effort to improve the amazing community in which we live, work and play,” Monson concluded.
Other updates shared during the council meeting, included:
- Work on the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport runway extension 1-19 project officially began in mid-April, with completion expected sometime around November or December.
- New mast arm traffic signals are now set to be erected as part of the U.S. 301, Pretty Pond and Townview shopping center intersection project.
- Walls are up on a standalone Chick-fil-A franchise, with an anticipated opening in late July or early August, at 7490 Gall Blvd.
- Construction is moving forward on a standalone Chipotle franchise, though there is not a known time frame for opening, at 7642 Gall Blvd.
Published May 05, 2021