By KAREN LA PIERRE

klapierre@dailynews.net

The wastewater treatment plant for the city of Hays is in need of replacement, and the city commission will discuss the issue at its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

The plant was built in 1953, and standards have become more stringent since that time.

"The reconstruction of the wastewater treatment plant is necessary to meet the Kansas Department of Health and Environment permit requirements for 2018," said Paul Briseno, Hays assistant city manager.

It is a KDHE requirement for the city to reduce phosphorous and nitrate levels. In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency levied an $18,000 fine on the city for violations.

The plant is expected to cost $24 million to $28 million and needs to be in place by 2018.

The city is ready to move forward and intends to use the design-build process. The design-build process is one where the same company designs and builds the plant.

The traditional design-bid-build process has been used by the city in the past. However, Briseno said that led to a lot of finger-pointing and delays. City staff will move forward with a design-build process. The designer, engineer and construction firm all work together at the same time all under one contract and work more efficiently, Briseno said.

"We have only two years to complete the construction of this facility, and we need to make sure this is done right the first time," he said. "This facility has to run 24/7. It cannot go down."

The plant will be in the same location as the current plant. Because of specific requirements, bidders will be sought from those who specialize in building wastewater treatment plants.

At the press briefing Tuesday, Marvin Honas, solid waste superintendent, listed the holiday schedule for trash pickup.

On Dec. 23, trash picked up on Tuesday and Wednesday will all be picked up Tuesday.

On Dec. 26, trash picked up on Thursday and Friday will be picked up Friday.

On Jan. 1, trash picked up on Thursday and Friday will be picked up Friday.

The Christmas tree disposal center will be behind the water plant by Stremel Ball Field this year. There will be signs posted.

The trees will be chipped for the parks department to use as mulch, and the center will be open until Jan. 12.

The commission will also discuss the annexation of 48th and General Hays at the request of the owners.