Phase II at Salem wastewater plant under way

SALEM–Phase II of the wastewater treatment plant improvements is under way.

The contract with Stanley Miller Construction Company began May 30 and includes 540 to complete the project, with a scheduled completion date of Nov. 19, 2020. The commission in March accepted a bid of $5,285,870 from the East Sparta company.

The project includes removing four existing settling tanks and replacing them with two new circular primary settling tanks, conversion of an existing settling tank into a sludge thickening site, and construction of a new administration building for the plant and a sludge storage pad.

This will be the third major upgrade project at the plant on Pennsylvania Avenue in recent years, all to improve efficiency, replace outdated equipment and keep up with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency requirements.

Department wastewater reserve funds that had been built up for the plant upgrades will cover the cost.

In other business the commission declined to seek a FEMA grant that would provide partial payment for rehabbing the dam face. The application is due this week and commission members said they felt there is not enough time to fill out the paperwork and the city would not have enough money to pay for the amount of work required to bring the dam up to today’s standards.

Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart said the dam was built in the 1950s and the face slope is greater than would be allowed today. He said the Ohio Department of Natural Resources inspects the dam every five years and after the most recent one required the department create and emergency plan in case of a rupture. He guessed the cost of bring the dam up to today’s standards would cost millions of dollars.

Also at the meeting, Jon Vollnogle of Howells and Baird civil engineers reported an estimated cost of $5,000 in construction and $1,200 in engineering fees to reroute the Snyder Road sanitary project. He said the city would also have to obtain easement from a neighboring property.

The commission asked him to provide the estimate because the utilities department has been unsuccessful in securing an easement from the heirs to a small South Ellsworth Avenue property in the current path of the project.

The next regular commission meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. July 18 in the upstairs conference room of the utilities department. A meeting regarding remote readable meters is tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m.