Apr 09, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Skaneateles Village Board of Trustees is making a second attempt to replace major equipment at the wastewater treatment plant after the original contractor it hired failed to fulfill its contract agreement.
At the April 2 board meeting, the trustees approved the use of G.P. Jager & Associates, a water and wastewater treatment systems manufacturer based out of Paramus, N.J., with a satellite office in Syracuse, for the installation of three new Rotational Biological Contactors, or RBCs, at the Village Wastewater Treatment Plant at a cost of $402,000.
The cost includes not just the RBCs but also new “drives,” or motors and gears, for each. The contract also includes the option for the village to purchase a fourth RBC within two years if desired.
RBCs are 26-foot-long by 12-foot-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.
The wastewater treatment plant has been plagued for months with breakdowns in or maintenance on one or more of the four RBCs — a troublesome issue since there must be two RBCs working at all times in order to keep the plant running effectively.
RBCs are typically supposed to last for 20 years. Two of the RBCs currently in the plant are 10 years old, including one that broke more than once late last year, while the other two RBCs are more than 30 years old and “are beyond their useful life,” village Director of Municipal Operations Bob Lotkowictz told the board back in November when the issue of replacement first came up.
There are three RBCs online currently, Lotkowicz said.
In December 2011, the village board contracted with Koester Associates, of Canastota, for the installation of three new RBCs at a cost of approximately $272,000. By March 2012, however, the company had done no work and informed the village it could not meet the contract specifications. The village board at its March 22 meeting therefore voted unanimously to terminate the contract.
Village Attorney Michael Byrne told the board the village could possibly even sue Koester for damages because the company’s failure “has caused us serious delay and put us in jeopardy.”
Lotkowicz then talked to some of the other, higher bidders for the project and, after further research, recommended that the board hire G.P. Jager & Associates for the work.
The price difference between the two contracts — $272,000 versus $402,000 — is due partly to the addition of the new drives, Lotkowicz said.
“Initially we were still deciding whether or not we needed the drives. Now we made the decision to get them; it was a good price, and this would complete the upgrade of the RBCs for the next 20 to 30 years,” he said.
Otherwise, the second contract is the same as the first, with the cost being for materials only. It does not include the removal of the old RBCs or the installation of the new RBCs, which will be done by village Department of Public Works employees.
The project will be funded with cash on hand from the village bank account and will not need to be financed or publicly bonded, said Mayor Marty Hubbard.
At the meeting, Lotkowicz said he did not know the exact turnaround time for G.P. Jager to deliver the RBCs to the village, but said it would be “most likely” about three months.
Once the RBCs are on-site, installation will take three-to-five days per unit, with installation of one RBC at a time to keep the plant operating appropriately, Lotkowicz said.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.
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