Star City Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade

Questions and Answers

Morgantown Utility Board understands and appreciates the concerns local residents have regarding the upgrade of our Star City Wastewater Treatment Plant. To help alleviate these concerns and to provide a resource where community members can obtain information, we are providing the questions and answers discussed below. We will also use this site to provide updates and new questions/answers on the project so please check back regularly.

As always, we will do everything possible to be a good neighbor and keep the public informed as the project moves forward. If you have questions, comments or concerns please contact Chris Dale at

We thank you for your patience during this upgrade.

Question: Why is this upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant necessary?

As our community grows and environmental regulations are amended, we must meet these changing needs. What’s more, the plant’s infrastructure requires considerable updates. Although the plant has experienced a few upgrades, the wastewater treatment plant itself was constructed in 1965. Many of the components are not only well beyond their service life but finding parts is extraordinarily difficult. The good news is that when the upgrade is complete, Morgantown will have state-of-the-art water and wastewater systems.

Question: What is the timeline for the project?

Construction has begun on the site and will continue through 2020.

Question: How much does the upgrade cost?

The construction bid for the wastewater treatment plant is $78 million. Total project cost, including upgrades to the Poponoe Run Interceptor, is $101 million.

Question: Why not construct a new plant at a new location?

Doing so would be financially infeasible. A new plant, along with relocating system components such as major pipes and pump stations, would be extremely costly.

Question: What will the upgrades include?

We will construct new control rooms and labs, install a new digester for solids processing, upgrade critical electrical equipment, and add a modernized treatment process using membrane bio reactors (MBR’s). Total plant capacity will be increased from 12.0 to 20.8 million gallons per day.

Question: What is the greatest challenge during this upgrade?

The greatest challenge will be simply keeping the plant operational as we move along. Fitting the new permanent structures along with all of the temporary construction equipment and supplies into the already tight site also presents a significant logistical challenge, which necessitates the use of the adjacent 84 Lumber property.

Question: Does the upgrade require MUB to expand the blueprint of the current plant?

No and yes. The proposed improvements to be constructed in this project will be placed within the current area of the existing wastewater treatment plant. However, we are negotiating the final details on a purchase agreement with 84 Lumber for their Star City property. This purchase will provide a staging area for construction parking, equipment and supplies; and will improve utility access for the current project, as well accommodating potential future plant expansions .

Question: Were other areas considered before the 84 Lumber purchase?

Yes. However no other property offered the appropriate size, proximity, and features to be a viable alternative.

Question: In relation to the 84 Lumber property, will the contractor remove the current building and storage structures or utilize them?

The existing warehouse structures will remain and will be utilized by MUB and/or its contractors.

Question: Does MUB plan on building a temporary sewage treatment plant on the 84 Lumber property during the upgrade?


Question: As part of this upgrade, will MUB extend current sewer treatment processes onto the 84 Lumber property?

No. The current project will utilize the 84 Lumber property only for parking, construction staging, and utility access.

Question: Will the 84 Lumber property be used for sewer treatment in the future?

We currently do not have plans for extending wastewater treatment onto the property. However, the site would be a logical candidate for future plant expansions.

Question: How will the current construction impact noise and traffic?

There may be minor noise and traffic impacts, especially as the contractor moves equipment and materials onto the site. We will make every attempt to manage traffic and noise issues. As far as noise from the plant site itself, the distance from the plant to residential areas will help minimize any impact.

Question: Will there be an increase in odor during the upgrade?

We will continue utilizing current odor control systems during the upgrade; however, there may be times when construction necessitates that system functionality be altered to some degree. When we expect this to occur, we will do everything possible to issue public notices ahead of time.

Question: Will construction require closure of the rail trail?

No. Fencing has been provided to separate the trail from the adjacent construction zone, and the trail will normally remain open and available for use at all hours. We will conduct all construction activities with appropriate safety measures, but as an added precaution, we advise trail users to be mindful of the nearby work and to be aware of their circumstances. Whenever an exception occurs to necessitate a temporary rail closure, we will make every reasonable effort to minimize the duration of the closure and to provide public notice.