TYLER, Texas (KETK) — The Tyler City Council voted on Wednesday to take the necessary steps toward constructing a new administration building at the Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant.

In a release, the city said that over the years, large amounts of hydrogen sulfide have been introduced to the office and lab environment due to the location of the raw sewage entry point into the wastewater plant, and the building’s proximity to the trickling filters and primary clarifiers. 

City officials said that the hydrogen sulfide levels are closely monitored to ensure safe working conditions for Tyler Water Utilities employees and are within OSHA guidelines but research said that long-term exposure to low-level amounts of hydrogen sulfide can still be harmful to people.

Along with safety concerns for employees, electrical devices like computers and lab equipment have experienced large amounts of detrimental corrosion over the years, officials said.

The current building was built in 1966 and included the influent lift station in the basement, electrical control room, laboratory and locker room. A two-story addition was constructed in 1990, according to the city.

“The proposed administration building would be located near the plant entrance on Old New Harmony Road,” said Utilities Director Kate Dietz. “This location eliminates the previously stated issues and corrosion problems and provides the additional office space needed for staff and essential updates to an aging wastewater treatment plant.”

This project is funded through Tyler Water Utilities Capital Improvements fund. The city council voted to authorize the city manager to execute a design contract with KSA Engineers, Inc. for $467,000 for the design, bidding, construction administration and inspection of the new administration building, according to a release.

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