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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 05/07/14
Village OKs $138,129 project
for iron removal
Trustees also examining fix for sewer vacuum truck
by CHRIS GRAYThe Village of Romeo is expecting some hefty expenses in order to maintain its sewer system.
Observer Staff Writer
A total of $138,129 has been approved the Board of Trustees as of April 21 in order to replace filter and media at its iron removal plant before summer begins.
Another $80,000 could be spent on repairs to a sewer vacuum truck, or up to $450,000 to purchase a new truck.
Tim Metz, Department of Public Works (DPW) supervisor, said the iron removal plant is failing due to filters that have been in the plant since it was built in 1998. Because of this, the village is doing backwash three times a week at a cost of $960 per week, or $49,934 a year for 300,000 to 400,000 gallons per day.
The plan removes iron from water by running it through giant filters. Backwashing is a form of preventative maintenance to reuse filters and media such as sand and gravel by flushing iron from the filters.
Metz said the problem is amplified by summer usage, which he said will require more backwashes as the daily gallons used doubles to 800,000.
Metz said the doubled amounts will require backwashes every other day, resulting in backwashes four times a week for 26 weeks and three times a week for the remaining 26 weeks for an annual cost of $64,542.
"You're going to be spending an extra $47,000 a year in backwashes, and ultimately it's going to fail," he said.
To fix the problem, the proposed $138,129 project would remove and replace the filters. This would include cleaning out the tanks with high-pressure water, inspections and painting the outsides of the tanks.
Metz said with the repairs the village can go to an ideal one backwash per week. He said with the improvements, the total cost for backwashes would become $16,644 a year.
Village Clerk Marian McLaughlin said funding for the project would come from the capital water fund, which has just over $100,000 in it.
"We have another project that is going to be coming up in the fall, so I'd prefer not to spend all of it in one lump sum," she said.
Financing the project will begin with a 10 percent down payment of $13,800. A first installment of $41,438 would do two filters, then the remaining three while running on the new filters. The second installment would be $27,625 to clean and inspect the tanks and replace the media.
The remaining $55,265 would be paid off in 12 payments plus 4 percent interest for a total payment of $4,789. The DPW will provide manpower to keep labor costs down.
"We knew this was coming, what, two years ago," McLaughlin said. "We've held off as long as we could, and the fund is built up."
Metz said the village's sewer vacuum truck is out of commission. The truck was bought refurbished by the village for $150,000 eight years ago and is 20 years old.
"The tank is basically rotted out," he said.
The estimated cost of the repairs to the truck runs $70,000 to $80,000 for just the parts needed. Metz said the DPW would try to fix it in-house, as it would cost about $125,000 to send it out for repairs.
In light of this, Metz suggested the village purchase a new truck. He said a refurbished truck would cost roughly $175,000 to $250,000, whereas a new truck would cost $300,000 to $450,000. McLaughlin said the village is able to receive state bid prices for the trucks. The bids could appear before the board during one of its budget workshop meetings to expedite the order.
The vacuum truck is used weekly for tasks like cleaning out storm water drains, catch basins, clearing out debris in sewer lines and during water main breaks. The truck also assists with meeting the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's requirement of annually cleaning out manholes.
"Right now we're working on a prayer hoping that nobody has any problems," Metz said.
Trustee Christine Malzahn asked if Metz could bring back numbers on what it would cost if the village had to hold off on the purchase and sub-contracted the work. Metz countered by comparing the situation to a fire breaking out and not having a fire truck to respond.
"You either have it or you don't," he said. "It's something you need."