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PUB approves wastewater engineering agreement

Parkersburg Utility Board Manager Eric Bennett, right, speaks during Tuesday’s regular board meeting as, from left, counsel Jeff Reed, Assistant Comptroller Chris Pauley and Comptroller Erin Hall listen. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — The Parkersburg Utility Board approved an agreement for engineering services on a $1.5 million project to upgrade portions of the wastewater treatment plant Tuesday.

Members voted 4-0, with Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce, the chairman, absent, to approve the $84,750 agreement with Strand Associates to design the rehabilitation of the primary clarifier and improvements to the chemical feed system. They included a caveat that final approval was contingent upon review of the contract by the board’s counsel, Jeff Reed.

The main issue with the clarifier is the scum-pumping system isn’t working properly after a change made during the last upgrade, Manager Eric Bennett said. “Scum” refers to grease and other materials that float in the clarifier during the primary treatment process to remove solids from the water. The utility has to use a jet vacuum truck to remove the material from the system a couple times a week, Bennett said.

The chemical feed system includes tanks that store chemicals used in the treatment process. But when those tanks need replaced, “the only way you can get them out is take that section of wall out,” Bennett said.

The project will upgrade the process, replace the tanks and facilitate future access to the tanks, he said.

Bennett said the repair work is included in the utility’s 2021-22 budget.

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