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Water treatment plant upgrades review planned

SALEM — A work session will be scheduled before the April city Utilities Commission meeting to review upgrades needed at the city water treatment plant off of Gamble Road.

The commission heard a brief synopsis of the engineering report Thursday from Michael Peleschak, an engineer with Alfred Benesch & Company. The report had just been delivered that day, with a possible price tag upwards of $14.5 million to $15 million for the upgrades.

He said the plant’s electrical system is in dire need of replacing, a new generator is needed, along with automating the system and updating equipment.

Commission Chair Bob Hodgson asked him to prioritize costs along the lines of what’s mandated, what would be good to have for more efficiency, what would be nice or what would be a dream.

Peleschak said he’ll have the financial breakdown to them next month so they can review it for the work session.

Commissioners also spoke about the pending Phase 3 upgrade project at the wastewater treatment plant on Pennsylvania Avenue, with all leaning toward including main gear replacement and a new standby generator and a sludge dewatering system, which could reduce costs for sludge removal.

The absolute mandatory improvements to the plant for Phase 3 are estimated to cost $10,452,000, but adding the sludge dewatering, main gear replacement and standby generator will bump the cost up to $14,722,000.

Hodgson said the department spent $34,000 last month to haul sludge away. Another option, which could be part of a Phase 4 or included as part of Phase 3, would be purchasing a sludge dryer and blower unit, bumping the cost to $17,602,000 for the total.

“We should make this plant as efficient as we can, if we can afford it,” Commission member Randy Malmsberry said.

“The longer we wait, we know costs are going to go up,” Hodgson said.

The dryer could be listed as an alternate when bids are sought for Phase 3.

“If we can get it as part of this and we need it, now is the time to go for it,” commission member Kyle Cranmer said.

In other business, Howells & Baird engineer Jon Vollnogle reported the wastewater was flowing through the newly-finished Snyder Road sewer line.

“Finally some good news at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

The remaining tie-ins from the new line to the existing hookups, including the one at Fresh Mark, were completed last week and he reported everything was flowing good. He said the contractor tried to minimize any disruption to Fresh Mark’s operation during the tie-in.

The project which had been in the planning stages for many years and finally got going in the fall of 2019 changed contractors a year ago, with Marucci & Gaffney taking over the project.

Hodgson praised the work of Marucci & Gaffney and said “we’re very happy with what they’ve done.”

Assistant Utilities Superintendent Butch Donnalley gave an update on the Phase 2 project at the wastewater treatment plant, where Stanley Miller Construction is working on the punch list and still waiting for equipment for the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Analysis) system.

Bob Schreiner advised commissioners of two different options for the rip-rap project along the shoreline at the reservoir off of Gamble Road. The study gave an estimate of $275,000 for repairs to the existing rip-rap and $410,000 for a new textured material, along with installation of a pipe system to collect any seepage water under both options. They’re going to see if they can get some grant money to help cover the cost.

The commission agreed to adopt the Ohio Administrative Code Water Backflow Regulations as required by the state and dropped its previous policy. New regulations are requiring employment of a certified back flow tester to do water service inspections.

The commission also awarded the contracts for chemicals for the year, noting minimal increases to the prices with no change in one price and a decrease in another. The chemicals to be purchased include chlorine, hydrate lime, liquid ferric chloride, hydrofluorosilicic acid and potassium permanganate.

The next meeting will be 4 p.m. March 18.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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