Joint session approves plant renovation changes

MARIETTA – Marietta City Council’s Finance Committee met jointly with its Water and Sewer Committee Monday to approve changes to the wastewater treatment plant renovation plan.

“I see no need to increase the loan though,” explained City Engineer Joe Tucker to the committees.

He explained that with available funds from previous savings during Phase III, Scope 4 of renovations, there’s funding still available in the $9,582,432.73 loan to put toward engineering for an additional upgrade at the plant.

Wastewater Superintendent Steve Elliott explained that the biological sludge airlines which supply oxygen to break down organic materials in the waste pumped to the plant are 12 years past their lifecycle.

“We’ve had them for 32 years, so we got 12 more years out of them than they’re made for,” he said.

But the lines are degrading, leaving the ground above more heated than the rest of the plant site.

The lines are costing the city in energy expenditures, Tucker explained, and will need to be replaced soon to prevent failure of that portion of the treatment system.

“The most expedient thing to do is include this engineering under Scope 4 to complete the design of the overhaul of our aeration system,” said the engineer.

Then the estimated $2 million project would be in line for energy rebates and grant and loan funding in time for a 2020 construction.

“This is one which should more than pay itself back over the life of the loan by reducing operating costs,” said Tucker.

The change order to the $9.5 million loan covers the cost of engineering at $250,500, plus the anticipated remaining construction administration through Pickering Associates Project Manager Jim Wark through the end of August on current work.

The loan amount does not change for the project or singular change order.

In other business, council’s Finance Committee also reviewed top priorities from departments on capital improvement spends Monday. Chairman Mike Scales asked each member to review what spends could wait another year to allow for the $49,900 spend on an Americans with Disabilities Act self-evaluation which the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development requires to continue funding Community Development Block Grant awards to the city.

Scales said he will introduce the appropriation Thursday but will have the legislation run three readings as council determines how it wants to pay for the study.