“We’ve revitalized this old plant in the last 10 years,” he said, adding, “I retire in December so I feel good about knowing I’m leaving it better than when I got here.”
Thomas said that all the major grants the sewer plant has received in the last few years, which have totaled almost a million dollars, were state grants. The most recent one was for $550,000 and will be used to install a new, larger sewer line starting at the plant and ending at the five-way stop behind the Trigg County school campus. Thomas said this was needed because that area has some of the highest traffic sewage in the city.
“If you open a manhole on Lafayette Street, it looks like a small river,” he said. “The flow is constant.”
Cadiz Public Works Director Kerry Fowler said at the May 6 city council meeting that the city would probably need about $1 million to complete the project, but that the grant would be enough to get started. Thomas said it’s always a good idea to ask for more money than is needed, not only to ensure that enough money would be awarded, but also because it usually takes so long to get approved that the cost of the work can increase while one is waiting.
“I’ve learned that it takes a long time to get these grants,” Thomas said. “If you need $50,000, you’d better ask for $100,000.”
Thomas said he originally applied for $1.5 million. Although the city has been approved for the $550,000 grant, Thomas said he wasn’t sure when the city would actually receive the money because of the state’s budget woes.
Thomas said the first large grant that the sewer plant received during his tenure was in 2005, when the city got $200,000 to replace its air system in both its tanks, or ditches, as they often called. The tanks art where the raw sewage mixes with air from the plant’s blowers and the microorganisms that feed on carbon-based waste. Thomas said these microorganisms, or “bugs,” break the waste down and make it easier to dispose of.
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.