City looking at improvements to help Athenex, development

The city has already started work on its wastewater treatment plant and going forward it has plans for more improvements that will help with development in the city — specifically Athenex.

Like many industries, the cancer-drug making plant will depend on the city for water and sewer to function.

“The mayor and I had meetings with Athenex engineers throughout this week. It’s an exciting project. They’re very happy with our water quality. They’re coming here basically because our water quality is some of the best around and our wastewater capacity is a lot, provided we fix all of these broken things. So, I think the meetings went well. I was at two meetings and the mayor went to one the other day and it’s going well with that project,” Department of Public Works Director Randy Woodbury reported at the Finance Committee meeting Thursday.

The wastewater treatment plant project started with the bar screens and grit removal system, which are expected to be completed before the end of the year. Woodbury said work needs to be done on the part of the plant after intake and before outflow in order to increase efficiency.

“The middle part of the plant could use some tweaking in order to help development like that (Athenex) and some development that already exists within city. We’d like to help them more and more than we are,” he added.

Another way the city is looking into efficiencies is by investing the money from the underbudget consent order water treatment plant project to invest in renewable energy sources. Woodbury said that project is estimated to come in at $2 million under budget. He will be looking into solar panels for the high lift station’s roof as well as wind-powered aeration, which currently runs on electricity, for the wastewater plant.

The Department of Public Works Committee will meet Wednesday at 4 p.m. in city hall.