Town wastewater plant halfway finished

Tim Fristoe, wastewater manager for the Town of Front Royal, stands outside new construction of the town's sewer facility off Manassas Avenue. The $40 million construction is 50 percent complete and is slated to be completed in November 2017. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Work on the town’s $53.3 million, wastewater treatment plant upgrade recently passed the halfway mark.

Officials broke ground on the project in June 2015, six months after Town Council awarded to Adams Robinson Enterprises of Dayton, Ohio, to construct the upgrades for $44.47 million. The contract calls for the firm to complete the project by Nov. 27, 2017, plant manager Tim Fristoe said Wednesday.

“They’re on schedule,” Fristoe said. “They fell a little bit behind in May slightly.”

Crews worked through the severe weather that swept through the area this past winter, Fristoe said. However, heavy rains affected the site, preventing crews from working on the project for a couple of days, he added.

“We have a good, working relationship with the contractor,” Fristoe said.

A construction worker finishes the exterior on the grit chamber for the new waste water treatment facility in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

While much of the project involves the construction of new structures on the site, still more remains hidden.

“There’s a lot of this work laying in the ground that people don’t see,” Fristoe said, describing parts of the project. “There’s miles of piping in this place.”

The project also includes the installation of a new, magnetic system to help treat wastewater, which Fristoe said he expects to start using in January.

The town needed to upgrade the plant to comply with tighter environmental regulations. The town spent years designing the upgrades and securing funding for the project.

The upgrade will allow the plant to increase the amount of treated wastewater it can release into the Shenandoah River from the current 4 million gallons to 5.3 million gallons per day. The facility can handle surges of up to 12 million gallons per day.

The orginal aeration tanks, which each hold 288,000 gallons, have been drained and wait to be rehabbed. Rich Cooley/Daily

The design calls for the demolition of two structures on the site and the reuse of others, keeping down the cost.

Front Royal borrowed up to $50 million for the project though cost should come closer to $37 million given that the town qualified for about $12 million in grants from the state’s Clean Water Quality Improvement Fund. The town also qualified for a loan at zero-percent interest to cover the remaining cost.

The project also includes a $2.25 million upgrade to the septage receiving station used to treat waste collected from septic systems in Warren County. The county is covering the cost of the station upgrade.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or

Pre-construction photos of Front Royal's wastewater plant are shown. Courtesy photo