$500K Grant

$37-million upgrade for Humboldt Utilities
underway, more on horizon

BIG CHECK – Several Gibson County officials gathered last week at the Gibson County Industrial Park to celebrate another grant to assist with upgrades to provide utilities to the site for Tyson Foods. This site development grant for $500,000 from Tennessee Department of Community and Economic Development will be used to install a dedicated wastewater line from the park directly to Humboldt Utilities wastewater treatment plant. Those celebrating are (from left) Gibson County Economic Development director Kingsley Brock, GC Industrial Board member T.O Lashlee, Humboldt Chamber Executive Director Amanda Love, Milan Mayor B.W. Beasley, Gibson County Mayor Tom Witherspoon, Humboldt Utilities General Manager Alex Smith, Humboldt Mayor Marvin Sikes, Trenton Mayor Ricky Jackson, GC Industrial Board Chair Debbie Carroll, Milan Chamber Executive Director Julie Allen Burke and Greater Gibson County Chamber Executive Director Libby Wickersham.

by Danny Wade

With Tyson soon coming to town, lots of planning has been in the works for months. No one has done more planning than Humboldt Utilities, who will provide all utilities to the Gibson County Industrial Park.

The state of Tennessee has been good to the industrial park and Humboldt Utilities in order for Tyson to locate here, bringing upwards of 1,500 new high-paying jobs to the area. Last week, Gibson County officials celebrated another grant from Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. This grant was for $500,000 and will help fund a new wastewater pipe from the industrial park to Humboldt Utilities wastewater (sewer) plant, according to Humboldt Utilities General Manager Alex Smith.

“This will be a dedicated line directly from our wastewater plant to the park,” Smith said. “It will be large enough for Tyson, plus any other future industry coming to the park.”

Practically every department at Humboldt Utilities has received state grants for upgrades needed to provide services to GCIP. A total of almost $37-million will be used to upgrade Humboldt Utilities’ ability to provide water, wastewater, gas and electric to the park.

So far, grant money totals almost half of the entire project at over $17-million with the remaining $20-million coming locally.

The largest part of the project is building a new wastewater treatment plant with a price tag of $22-million. Bids for the plant should be ready by early 2019 with construction beginning soon after bids are awarded.

“This is an entire new wastewater treatment plant,” Smith explained. “It’s all new technology to treat more effectively and efficiently.”

Smith said the current wastewater treatment plant has the capacity to handle 2.6-million gallons per day. The new plant will almost double the capacity at 5-million gallons.

“Now we treat about 1.7 to 1.8 million gallons per day,” Smith noted. “Tyson will add 1.5 million gallons per day.”

Smith said the new wastewater treatment plant should be up and running by mid 2020.

Tyson will have their own wastewater treatment plant on site that will not be part of Humboldt Utilities. Instead, the Tyson treated wastewater will be pumped into Humboldt Utilities wastewater system for a second and final treatment.

Other improvements to the utility department include a new water tower at the industrial park. Smith said they will bid two sizes, 1-million gallons and a 1.5-million gallons. Either way, it will be the largest water tower in Humboldt Utilities system. In comparison, the tower at Humboldt Industrial Park is 600,000 gallons while the towers at Bongards’ and Fort Hill have a 300,000-gallon capacity each.

A brand new fresh water well will be installed at the water treatment plant located next to Bailey Park as well as new water lines to the industrial park to feed the new water tower.

To service the park’s electrical needs, a new $5-million substation will be built on site plus an additional $2-million for power lines, poles and other infrastructure needs.

A 6-inch steal natural gas line runs to the industrial park. Unfortunately no grant money was available for this project, which costs $600,000.

To get an overall utility picture, the new Tyson plant will use almost as much utilities as all of Humboldt. On a peak summer day, Smith said Humboldt uses 35-megawatts of electricity. Tyson is expected to use 20-21 megawatts per day. Humboldt uses around 500,000 MCF of gas per day. Tyson will consume approximately 450,000 MCF. Humboldt uses 1.5-million gallons of water per day. Tyson will use that same amount.

So you can see with the double workload, Humboldt Utilities must undergo this major undertaking of upgrades in order to serve the needs of Tyson and other industries that might locate in the Gibson County Industrial Park.

Rest assured, when Tyson flips the switch and begins producing thousands of fresh chicken tray packs, Humboldt Utilities’ proactive work will pay off providing all the utilities needed.

TOPS IN TWO STATES – Jane Leatherland (left), supervisor of water and wastewater treatment for Humboldt Utilities, and Alex Smith, Humboldt Utilities general manager, display three awards from the Kentucky-Tennessee Water Environment Association. Leatherland was awarded the William D. Hatfield Award for outstanding performance and professionalism in the operation of a wastewater treatment facility. Only one person receives this award each year. Humboldt Utilities was also the only utility company to receive the Control Authority Pretreatment Excellence Award for outstanding management and execution of pretreatment program. Humboldt Utilities received the Operational Excellence Award. To earn this award, utility companies must have no more than one permit violation during the year. Humboldt Utilities is the only utility company in West Tennessee to earn the award for six consecutive years. Both Smith and Leatherland said these awards are results of the collectively excellent work of the entire staff.

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