SALEM - The city Utilities Commission approved up to $700,000 worth of additional critical need items for the Phase I wastewater treatment plant improvement project, but nixed a request for a tow motor.
During the commission meeting Tuesday, Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart said there was no need for the tow motor after commissioners questioned whether it should be on the list for the additional scope of work items.
Some of the additional work had been discussed at length during last month's meeting, but no motion was made to approve the recommended additions. Assistant Utilities Superintendent Matt Hoopes said the top item on the list was an upgrade to the motor control unit, along with additional valves and piping and heating and ventilation for the blower building.
The commission also approved $85,900 for additional engineering. Burgess & Niple Inc. was hired as the engineeering firm for the Phase I improvements in February for a fee totaling 11.5 percent of the project cost. The project cost was estimated at a little over $2.3 million.
Weingart said the next step in the process will be completion of the project plans, which could be in another 60 days, and then the plans will be presented to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for review and the issuance of a permit to install.
Commission Chairman Geoff Goll questioned whether the local limits for phosphorous levels need approved before that can be done, but Weingart said they can still secure the permit to install without the limits. The local limit justification had been sent by the city to the OEPA in March 2010 to set the level of phosphorous permitted to come into the system for treatment.
Goll said it makes no sense to put the project out to bid if the limits aren't approved yet. Also pending is a consent decree expected to be issued against the city regarding orders issued in 2002 over phosphorous levels.
"We're not going to get into the position of spending millions of dollars for improvements and not get credit for it against anything the OEPA does to us," Goll said, referring to possible fines.
In other business, the commission decided to hold off on any decision regarding sludge disposal or construction of a sludge storage pad. The commission had reviewed options at a previous work session and reviewed some additional information during a work session Tueday.
Regarding the Painter Road/Brooklyn Avenue/Depot Road proposed sewer line extension project in Perry Township, the commission reviewed some material sent by bond counsel for the city and questioned some of the language.
Goll stressed that the project is not a joint project between Columbiana County and the city. Columbiana County is doing the project at the request of Perry Township and Salem agreed to help with the funding. Salem will own the lines and maintain them once the project is complete.
The next meeting of the city Utilities Commission will be 3 p.m. Nov. 20.