The Bath City Council approved a $4.7 million contract bid on Feb. 14 that will provide needed improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

The contract, paid for by a $9.8 million bond passed by voters in 2015, will improve several aging pieces of equipment and infrastructure at the plant. Some pieces of equipment have steadily become obsolete, with others becoming difficult to repair due to age.

One key change is replacing the facility’s dewatering system, which over time has become less effective. “It’s time to move on. The technology has changed significantly in the 20 years since those were put in,” said Public Works Director Lee Leiner.

Dewatering systems, he said, do exactly what they’re named for: Remove water from any solid waste products. The old equipment has been doing a poor job for quite a while. “The level of water in it right now makes it a messy proposition when it gets to the landfill.”

Another change includes building larger chemical storage tanks at the facility, which will increase efficiency and reduce cost in the long-term. “If we can get a bigger tank in there, we can buy chemicals in bigger quantities, and pay a lower unit price,” said Leiner.

Repair of the facility’s aeration tanks are also detailed in the contract. “They’ve been there since 1970 without a lot of work being done with them.”

Councilor Susan Bauer asked if Leiner was confident the project could be done for $4.7 million. “If there is an overrun, how would you handle it?”

According to Leiner, previous work done on the bond has so far run under budget, leaving wiggle room for any additional costs.

The work will be performed over the next few years. According to Leiner, the facilities will not have to be taken offline during the work.