City ready for waste water bids

The Salem Utilities Commission gave the go-ahead Monday to advertise for bids for construction of the city wastewater treatment plant Phase 1 improvements.

Bob Schreiner of Burgess & Niple, the engineering firm overseeing the project, said the plans are just about ready to go out for bid and they’re tentatively planning on June 6 as the date for the bid opening.

He explained they’ll evaluate the bids quickly and if everything goes smoothly, they could prepare to award the project by June 11, the expected date of the Utilities Commission meeting that month.

The commission met in special session concerning the bids and two other items.

Commission Chairman Geoff Goll didn’t think action was necessary to seek the bids since city council had already voted for the project to go forward, but commission member Bob Hodsgon questioned whether they should put it on the record, which they did.

Schreiner said the bid period will be about four to five weeks. He gave a project cost estimate of $3.3 million with the bid contingency included, saying the cost was estimated closer to $2.8 to $2.9 million.

Goll said he knew they couldn’t require anything in the bid specifications regarding where to get materials or labor, but suggested maybe they could talk with the successful bidder to suggest the local angle.

“Our emphasis here is locals are paying for it, so locals should benefit from it,” he said.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency already issued the required Permit to Install for the project which is expected to improve the removal of solids and improve suspended solids compliance issues at the treatment plant on Pennsylvania Avenue.

In other business on the special meeting agenda, the commission approved up to $1,000 for some pre-engineering work required for an initial grant application to the Appalachian Regional Commission for funding for a sewer extension under the Norfolk-Southern Railroad to Benton Road, just northwest of the state Route 45/U.S. Route 62 bypass.

Larry Kosiba, executive director of the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center, explained the idea behind the project, noting the plan could bring sewer service to a heavy industrial area which includes a warehouse for TruCut and serve about 100 acres across the road which includes some residential. He explained that he spoke to TruCut owner David Gano and sewer service would allow him to change the location from a warehouse facility to possibly a production facility.

“We really appreciate you taking the lead on this,” Goll told Kosiba.

Kosiba said they’ll be seeking up to $210,000 on this initial application and look for funding partners to help cover whatever the ARC doesn’t cover of the estimated cost, which is up to $210,000. He said the project will open up 19 acres of property in the city to more heavy industrial capability and open up another 100 acres both inside and outside the city to further development. The grant application is due Friday.

The commission went behind closed doors in executive session with city Law Director Brooke Zellers regarding pending litigation, with no action to be taken.

The next regular meeting of the Utilities Commission is set for 3 p.m. May 21.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at