ANDERSON – The city of Anderson has awarded a contract to an Indianapolis firm to replace the Lafayette water treatment plant.

The Anderson Board of Public Works approved a $9.7 million contract Tuesday with F.A. Wilhem Construction Co.

Neal McKee, superintendent of the Anderson Water Department, said the engineer’s estimate of the cost was $8.6 million.

He said work is expected to start in October and will take 19 months to complete. The new plant will treat 10 million gallons of water daily, McKee said.

The existing plant, built in 1968, will be decommissioned and eventually demolished.

The Lafayette Township water treatment plant has been responsible for the purification of Anderson’s drinking water since 1968.

Funding for the plant is coming from a $14.2 million bond the Anderson City Council approved in 2016.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approved the bond when it approved in 2015 a two-year phased-in 47 percent rate increase for the city’s water utility.

The monthly charge for the average residential customer, including a fire protection surcharge, increased from $18.87 to $22.98 in 2015 and climbed to $27.84 in 2016.

McKee said a majority of the funds from the 20-year bond will be used to replace the four wells at the Lafayette Well Field, replace water mains in Homewood, upgrade the Wheeler Avenue water treatment plant and replace the Lafayette treatment facility.

He said work on replacing the Lafayette Well Field should be completed in the next six months.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.