NEO Corp., Canton, N.C., will start on Jan. 2 to demolish the equalization basin at the Gatlinburg, Tenn., wastewater treatment plant where two workers died after a wall collapse in April.

The contract is for $96,100, and the work is to be completed within 45 days, according to a memo between the city of Gatlinburg and NEO.

A date for requests for bids on the equalization-basin reconstruction has not been set, nor has a construction start, a city spokeswoman said.

The NEO bid was the lowest of eight received for the job. Baker Construction and Excavation Co. of Bluff City, Tenn., made the highest bid at $352,334.

A 115-ft-long, 40-ft-high wall that was part of the 850,000-gallon basin collapsed on April 5 onto the flow control building at which two plant workers—John Eslinger, 53, and Don Storey, 44—were adjusting valves after heavy rains.

More than two million gallons of raw sewage spilled into the rain-swollen Little Pigeon River after the collapse, but secondary treatment was started the next day.

Neither the Tennessee Dept. of Labor nor the Tennessee Dept. of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is taking action against the plant, citing no safety violations during investigations of the collapse.

A report by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration, with input from a federal OSHA engineer, said the  collapse was caused by construction deficiencies that allowed gradual corrosion of the rebar inside the wall.

The environmental impact was brief and the collapse was related to safety issues, a TDEC spokeswoman said.

The city hired Construction Engineering Consultants, Knoxville, to investigate the cause of the collapse. It has not yet issued a report.

The equalization basin was built in 1994-1996 by Crowder Construction Co., the contractor, and Flynt Engineering Co., the engineer. Neither is in business now.

Veolia Water North America, Chicago, has managed the plant since 1994.