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Salem Utilities approves purchase of 5 Solar-B’s

SALEM–The Salem Utilities Commission has approved the purchase of five Solar-Bs as part of phase one of the wastewater treatment plant improvements.

The Solar-Bs are solar powered pump floats which circulate water in order to decrease the growth of algae. Each of the six units has a cost of approximately $64,000, with three to be installed in the city’s fresh water reservoir, and two be installed at the Spring Valley reservoir, which serves as the city’s backup reservoir. The commission also heard a report from a representative of Benesch Engineering who explained the plant’s lagoon controls and pumps were in need of repairs.

Commission Chairman Bob Hodgson noted that a study of the amount of electricity needed for the wastewater plant’s operation was also being conducted as part of the phase one upgrades.

The planned installation of a PONDUS filtration system as part of the plant’s phase three upgrades was intended to go to bid in September, however, due to ongoing inflation throughout the United States, this may no longer be possible, with Hodgson saying “further communication is needed to determine the feasibility of going to bid in September.” As the new filtration system was intended to meet requirements agreed upon in the city’s Consent Decree with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, an alternate plan to meet these requirements has been developed. The alternate plan would upgrade the plant’s sludge treatment system.

The commission also heard from Cherri and Donald Piszczek who want to have their home tied into the city’s water lines. Doing so would require an extension to the city’s existing water lines, from the last connection point on State Street to the residence. Cherri and Donald purchased the necessary materials to install pipe to the street for the connection, however, they were unaware of the city’s policy that connecting a new home to the water line is done at the homeowner’s expense. This would represent an additional cost of $3,600 to the Piszczek’s, which they noted was not currently feasible. Hodgson apologized that they had not been informed of the policy sooner but that it was the city’s policy, and the policy has been in place for many years.

The next Utilities Commission meeting will be 4 p.m. Sept. 15.

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