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Village board approves new RBC replacement contract for wastewater treatment plant

New contractor found after first agreement not fulfilled

— 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.

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