IRRIGON - Construction is on schedule for the new wastewater treatment plant in Irrigon.

The project, which began Oct. 23, is part of an upgrade of the city's system and, once completed, will more then double the capacity of Irrigon's septic system. The current system in Irrigon can only process about 180,000 gallons of waste a day. The new system will be able to handle around 450,000. The total cost for the project will be more than $6 million.

The project is divided into two phases of construction, with the first phase being the construction of the treatment plant being built now. The second phase will begin a conversion process facility, which will not be started until soon after the treatment plant is up and running.

The treatment plant is scheduled to be done in mid June. According to Irrigon City Manager Patrick Reay, phase two should begin soon after.

The entire project is scheduled to be completed by December 2004.

The completion of the treatment facility has extra significance for the city of Irrigon, because it likely will prompt the lifting of a construction ban imposed by the Irrigon City Council last year. The construction moratorium was voluntarily placed on the city at the insistence of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Reay said the city must submit a proposal to DEQ in order for the ban to be lifted. If permission is given, the City Council could vote to have it removed permanently.

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