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Front Page » Top Stories » Plans For County Sewage Plant Could Grow By 275 Million

Plans For County Sewage Plant Could Grow By 275 Million

Written by on November 9, 2006

In an effort to prevent a countywide building ban, the Miami-Dade County commission’s Infrastructure and Land Use Committee last week approved $27.5 million to expand the design of a mandated $1.1 billion sewage treatment project.

The committee’s action, which must be approved by the county commission, authorizes Coral Gables environmental engineering firm Hazen and Sawyer to add a chlorine factory and an enclosed power plant to its design for a $550 million high-tech water-purifying operation at the South District Wastewater Treatment Plant in Goulds-Perrine.

Another engineering group — Camp, Dresser and McKee of Cambridge, MA — received approval to expand its piece of the project to include a draft of a 20-year water-use master plan recently ordered by the South Florida Water Management District.

If the county commission OKs the land-use committee’s action, Camp, Dresser and McKee will be paid an additional $1.5 million for its services, which include acting as a watchdog once construction begins. Hazen and Sawyer’s design contract would grow $24.7 million to $39.7 million.

Both firms’ new jobs are expected to be completed in a year. That would keep Miami-Dade in compliance with clean-water timetables imposed as part of a 2003 settlement with state and federal agencies. And for the moment, it would forestall a building ban.

But a moratorium could be looming, said John W. Renfrow, director of the county’s water and sewer department. That’s because the county will miss the 2009 deadline to have its new water-treatment facilities operational.

When the county agreed to the project, construction was expected to take three years, Mr. Renfrow said. Now, he said, the project isn’t expected to be complete until 2011. But he said he doesn’t foresee a moratorium as long as the county doesn’t "drag its feet" in meeting the terms of the clean-water agreement.