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Trustees approve $600,000 for water purification contract bids

The Skaneateles Board of Trustees has unanimously approved two contractor bids totaling more than half a million dollars to construct a water purification system in the village water plant.

The action was the latest step in a multi-year project to fulfill a federal environmental mandate, for which the village board already has secured an $800,000 bond.

"I'm very confident our $800,000 figure will cover the projected costs of the project," Mayor Martin Hubbard said during the board's June 9 meeting.

In a unanimous vote, the village board awarded a general construction contract to Henderson Bros. Contracting for $353,584, and an electrical and instrumentation contract to Beken Contracting Co. for $235,794.

Once the companies received their notice of award they will begin the bond and insurance production process.

The village received more than one dozen bids for the two contracts, ranging from $353,000 to $532,000 for the general construction contract and $235,000 to $289,000 for the electrical and instrumentation contract.

Mayor Hubbard said he hopes the work will begin shortly after the July 4 weekend. It is projected to take five or six months, which will have it completed before the March 2012 deadline.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency notified the village of the need to acquire and install an ultraviolet disinfection system in its water plant in about 2007. Water will pass through the UV rays as it makes it way to the storage tanks. Such systems have been used for decades in the dairy industry and other industrial processes to kill bacteria.

"It's a proven process, simple and safe," said Bob Lotkowictz, director of village municipal operations.

The $800,000 bond to fund the project will be repaid through increased rates for village water users on a per gallon basis over a 20-year period. The actual cost increase will not be determined, however, until the system has been completely installed and any funding grants received, Lotkowictz said.

He told the village board on June 9 that he has not yet heard a decision from the state about the 2010 Efficiency Implementation Grant of $400,000 for which he applied.

Yet regardless of whether or not the village receives the grant, the UV system must be built and the $800,000 bond repaid because it is a federal mandate.

"There's really nothing magical about it, it's a very straightforward project. We're just looking forward to getting it done and off our plate," Lotkowictz said.

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