Sludge thickening equipment and pumps installed as part of the wastewater treatment plant upgrade are in use, but there's still work remaining to finish the $2.7 million construction project.
"Everything seems to be falling into place," Assistant Utilities Superintendent Matt Hoopes said Thursday.
Hoopes reported the status of the project to the Salem Utilities Commission, explaining that some programming and calibrating still needs to be done with some of the equipment.
Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart said the situation with the clarifiers with the leveling system appears to be under control.
No decisions were made regarding requests by both contractors for extensions of the Aug. 5 completion deadline, which has passed. Both Kirk Bros. and Enertech Electrical had sent written requests for more time. According to the contract signed last year, failure to meet the completion deadline could result in monetary penalties for the contractors.
Phase I is expected to improve the removal of solids and improve suspended solids compliance issues at the plant. Some of the work included replacing the mechanisms of the three final clarifiers, raising the water level by a foot to add more capacity for better settling, adding a sludge thickening building to house two sludge thickeners, modifying the blower building which includes ventilation to bring it up to standards and interior and exterior piping modifications.
Kirk Bros. didn't start on the site until the spring of this year even though the ceremonial groundbreaking with city officials was held last August. Burgess & Niple, the engineering firm overseeing the project, has asked for an additional $28,000 in engineering fees caused by modifications that had to be made and additional shop drawings. The commission made no decision on the request.
In other business, commission Chairman Bob Hodgson said the news about the department's search for a new building for the distribution division or possible construction of a new building resulted in more proposals to consider. He said he'll be calling a special meeting next month to hear a breakdown of the proposals and a recommendation from Howells & Baird, the engineering firm handling the project.
The commission also heard updates on several agenda items, including the Highland Avenue water tank computer modeling calibration, painting of the lime storage silo at the water plant on Gamble Road, replacement of the water line on 12th Street and the circulation project at the Stewart Road Reservoir. The 12th Street project was supposed to begin two weeks ago, but Weingart said the contractor hasn't shown up yet. The project is expected to be completed by Oct. 23 and he said that should be no problem.
For the painting of the lime storage silo, water plant manager Larry Sebrell received a proposal from Woolf's Painting & Roofing of Berlin Center for $3,600 to paint the silo and touch-up the bad spots. Weingart said he also wants to get a price for cleaning the exterior brick and sealing it.
Weingart reported to the commission that the department received a quote from Donnell Ford for a new full-size Ford F-150 with a spray-on bedliner and trailer hitch for $21,660. The state co-op price was $22,427. He said they'll ask Donnell to reserve the truck. Hodgson asked that they keep the commission updated on vehicles so they can be turning them over on a planned basis.
The commission also gave Hodgson and Weingart authorization to sign the negotiated labor contact with the Local 560 Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO that city council ratified last week. Mayor John Berlin will also sign and said he's already signed the other three union contacts for the police, fire and service departments.
The next regular meeting of the commission is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sept. 11.