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Village board may spend $500,000 for water treatment plant

Rotational Biological Contactors, or RBCs — cost $400,000 to $600,000 each, but are essential to the operations of the wastewater treatment plant. RBCs are 26-feet-long by 12-feet-wide cylinder-shaped pieces of equipment, made mostly of plastic, that continually rotate, passing waste water through the liners, thereby removing anaerobic bacteria (organic materials and ammonia) out of the water.

Rotational Biological Contactors, or RBCs — cost $400,000 to $600,000 each, but are essential to the operations of the wastewater treatment plant. RBCs are 26-feet-long by 12-feet-wide cylinder-shaped pieces of equipment, made mostly of plastic, that continually rotate, passing waste water through the liners, thereby removing anaerobic bacteria (organic materials and ammonia) out of the water. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— The village board of trustees at its Nov. 10 meeting approved a proposal to publicly bid on contracting replacement parts for the Skaneateles Wastewater Treatment Plant that may cost $500,000.

The needed parts — three or possibly four Rotational Biological Contactors, or RBCs — cost $400,000 to $600,000, but are essential to the operations of the wastewater treatment plant.

Currently, one of the four RBCs is broken, one is the sister machine to the broken one and therefore causes concern that it too may break, and the other two RBCs are more than 30 years old and “are beyond their useful life,” according to Village Director of Municipal Operations Bob Lotkowictz.

“We can’t wait, we’re running on three now,” Lotkowicz told the village board of trustees on Nov. 10.

The wastewater treatment plant must have two RBCs working at all times in order to keep the plant running effectively.

Lotkowicz’s report was the latest in a string of updates to the board since the RBC No. 2 broke this past August.

RBCs are 26-feet-long by 12-feet-wide cylinder-shaped pieces of equipment, made mostly of plastic, that continually rotate, passing waste water through the liners, thereby removing anaerobic bacteria (organic materials and ammonia) out of the water. The RBC process is one step in the total village water treatment process.

RBCs are supposed to last for typically 20 years, although they are only guaranteed for one year. The broken RBC is only 10 years old, but it cannot be repaired because the manufacturing company is out of business, Lotkowicz said.

At the last village board meeting on Oct. 27, Lotkowicz told the trustees it would be necessary to purchase replacement RBCs, and, given the time it would take to acquire and then install the parts, they should start looking into it immediately. Mayor Marty Hubbard asked Lotkowicz to prepare specifications and cost estimates for such replacements to present at the next board meeting.

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