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Posted: 11/28/12

Cost for improvements
at WWTP at $22,898

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Preventative and energy-saving measures have been approved for Romeo's sewer plant.
       The Village Board of Trustees gave unanimous approval to two purchases for the Romeo Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) that will cost a total of $22,898.
       Of the purchases, one will be made from savings realized from the first expense.
       The U.S. Department of Energy mandated that T12 fluorescent bulbs be phased out of production by the end of July 2012. In their place, more efficient T8 fluorescent bulbs are recommended, as they save up to 33 more energy when compared to the older bulbs.
       Al Lapeer, WWTP superintendent, said two-thirds of the plant uses the T12 bulbs, and to keep using them will become more expensive as supplies diminish.
       One bid came in at $28,000 to replace or refurbish all the fixtures, which Lapeer said was in the original budget. Ultimately, Madison Electric provided a price of $15,477, but with a rebate from DTE Energy reduced it to $14,085.
       "About a third of our plant is new and has the T8 bulbs," he said. "This is just for the old portion of the plant."
       The estimated electrical savings would be $954 a year, meaning the project would pay itself off in just over 14 years. Lapeer said the refurbish process would begin in December or January.
       Since the plant realized a savings of $13,195 with the lower bid, Lapeer approached the board with a request to repair hoses on digester domes. One dome is held up by methane gas and the other by air.
       The purchase, which totals $8,813, also includes a new sensor and a new ignitor. Lapeer said since Siemens makes the hoses he could only approach them for a bid.
       He said installation will not be difficult except for accessing the tops of the domes. He said it will be a few months before the repairs can take place.
       "They're in no danger of breaking anytime soon, but they are starting to get old and starting to show it," he said.
       The repairs and refurbishings are all part of what the state has declared as a compliant and well-run plant. The Water Resource Division of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality held a compliance inspection of the wastewater treatment plant on Oct. 16.
       In a letter to the village, the division noted that the plant was in compliance with aspects such as mercury sampling, toxicity testing, and groundwater pumping.
       "We find that the facility is neat and orderly, appears to be operating well, and to be well operated," the letter states.


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