Board says finish on time or pay penalty

The contractor working on the Salem Wastewater Treatment Plant Phase I improvement project is running a little behind and asked for more time, but the city is sticking to the original terms.

“The contract is as it was given. We are not responsible for shoddy material delivered to them or their decision to wait to break ground,” city Utilities Commission Chairman Bob Hodgson said.

The commission took no vote on the request, with Hodgson saying the engineering firm which designed the improvements delivered the message. According to the contract signed last year, the project has a completion deadline of Aug. 5 and includes monetary penalties to be assessed to the contractors if they don’t meet the deadline.

Kirk Bros. Inc. of Alvada was awarded the general contract for $2,273,000, with the electrical contract going to Enertech Electrical of Lowellville for $447,400 for a total project cost of $2,720,400.

Phase I is expected to improve the removal of solids and improve suspended solids compliance issues at the plant. Some of the work includes replacing the mechanisms of the three final clarifiers, raising the water level by a foot to add more capacity for better settling, adding a sludge thickening building to house two sludge thickeners, modifying the blower building which includes ventilation to bring it up to standards and interior and exterior piping modifications.

Kirk Bros. didn’t start on the site until the spring of this year even though the ceremonial groundbreaking with city officials was held last August. Part of the delay has been caused by some additional work that had to be done on the clarifiers to ensure the proper clearance for the leveling system, according to Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart. The bottom had to be regrouted.

In other business, the commission discussed a proposal for the painting of the lime silo at the water treatment plant off of Gamble Road. Weingart said they’re still looking for a local painter to submit a proposal as a means to reduce costs. Burgess & Niple had submitted a proposal for $27,900 just for the engineering and handling of the bidding process. That doesn’t include the cost for actually painting the lime silo, so they wanted to see what kind of pricing they could get from local painters.

If no local painters step forward, water plant manager Larry Sebrell indicated he could do some touch up work around the weld joints on the silo to get it through another winter.

Weingart announced the contract for the 12th Street water line replacement project has been signed and residents can expect work to begin in two weeks.

Assessment deadline looming

Weingart also noted that he sent reminder letters out to residents affected by last’s year’s sewer line extension project on Painter Road, Brooklyn Avenue and Depot Road about the deadline for paying their share of the total cost of the project without having it placed on their property taxes. If a customer pays the lump sum along with 5 percent interest for the past four months by July 31, then they won’t see an assessment on their property tax bills. If not paid by the July 31 deadline, then the cost will be assessed on their property taxes over 15 years at 5 percent interest.

According to Weingart, depending on their financial situaton, some residents could probably borrow the money somewhere for less interest and pay it off anytime. Once the assessment is put in place, it cannot be reversed, he said.

In other news, the commission was shown a photograph of a sign placed in four different spots near the creek that feeds into the Salem Reservoir indicating a “Drinking Water Protection Area” and giving a number to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to report spills at 1-800-282-9378. The signs were placed on Teegarden Road, Depot Road, Winona Road and Sell Road.

The commission also approved a policy change at the request of the OEPA to require inspections and tests of backflow protection devices at certain commercial and industrial sites to every year instead of every three years. The commission had last revised the rule to every three years in 1999 and the OEPA indicated during a recent inspection of the water supply that it should be changed to every year.

The department was given the go-ahead to check with local vehicle dealers for a 2014 truck to replace a 2004 Ford pickup which has been costing more money for mechanical problems in recent years.

The commission agreed to go into executive session to discuss property purchasing, related to recent discussion about a utilities storage building. No action was taken.

The next commission meeting is 4 p.m. Aug. 14.