Work is 62 days ahead of schedule on the city of Hays’ $28.4 million renovation of its wastewater treatment plant at 1498 E. U.S. Highway 40 Bypass, “which is excellent,” said Jeff Crispin, director of water resources.

“We have roughly 388 days to go,” Crispin said Wednesday. Contractors got the go-ahead to start on May 31, 2017, and completion is set for July 15, 2019.

Most of the concrete work and installation of pipe in the ground was completed before Hays was hit with heavy rains in April and May, which was fortunate, Crispin said. As a result, the joint partnership of CAS Constructors and Burns & McDonnell will be able to work through the winter primarily inside.

“This November-December there will be some substantial changes,” he said.

At that time, the city’s wastewater from an existing influent pump station into a headworks facility will instead flow into two new replacement structures. 

The Hays City Commissioners this evening will hear an update on the project from Crispin and Stan Christopher with HDR Engineering Inc., Lees Summit, Mo.

Residents who want to watch the construction progress can see it in four-hour segments from a live stream video camera at http://www.haysusa.com/html/wastewaterremodel.html.

Right now viewers will see that where there once was just grass there is now a big round white facility in the foreground at the left of the image, which is a 30-40-foot deep influent pump station with pumps at the bottom of it. That’s the new receiving structure for all the city’s wastewater.

A big red brick building in the foreground on the right side of the image is the new headworks building, where wastewater is pumped up to the top floor so that grit, rags and other flushed items can be removed.

Those two facilities replace a single red-brick structure seen in the background on the left behind a small white construction trailer.

“Work is pretty much done in this corner,” Crispin said, so the camera will be moved in a couple weeks so viewers can see activity behind the new headworks building.

“Obviously it gets kind of boring if you’re just sitting there watching it,” he said.

The camera takes a snapshot every day at noon.

“So at the end of the project, we’ll take those 700 pictures and show a cool project under construction from start to finish,” Crispin said. 

The construction is visible from Old 40, although drivers will be passing by at 40 miles an hour. For a more leisurely look, Crispin recommends turning onto Reservation Road for a view of the construction, equipment staging and mounds of dirt from prior earth work.

“It’s worth a drive back there, I think,” he said.

The commission meets for its regularly scheduled meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the City Commission Room of Hays City Hall, 1507 Main St.

In other business, the city:

• Will consider Joseph Boeckner for a three-year term on the Hays Area Planning Commission.

• will receive Meier’s recommendation of Tony Dopita to a three-year term on the Airport Advisory Committee.

• Will consider amending a city ordinance governing fence height on the side yard of corner residential lots from the current height of 42 inches. If adopted, the change would allow a much taller fence, up to 72 inches. The original ordinance was adopted in 2016 as part of changes to the Unified Development Code. Variances have been approved previously for the taller fences, Wood noted.

• Will consider amending a city ordinance governing accessory building height on residential lots to remove what Wood described as confusing references to Single Story and Two-Story. References to the number of stories will be removed, if approved, and instead the ordinance would note the maximum height to the peak of the roof shall not exceed 18 feet or the height of the principal dwelling, whichever is greater.