City seeks bids for wastewater plant repair
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | April 22,2013
The city is going out to bid on a major purchase for the wastewater treatment facility.
The Board of Aldermen voted last week to allow the Department of Public Works to solicit proposals for a new guide system for one of the digester covers.
City Engineer Evan Pilachowski said the equipment replacement fund has more than $500,000, which he expected to more than cover the purchase. The only cost estimates he could offer were rough ones, as the city does not yet know what other repairs will be needed to get the cover installed, but that he expected it would be in the $150,000 to $200,000 range.
The plant has five digesters, which process the sludge that results from the wastewater treatment process, converting organic materials into gas. The covers act as gas storage vessels, rising and falling with the gas level, and the guide system directs that movement and keeps them functioning properly.
“The existing guide system has rotted and seized,” Pilachowski said. “When we went to look at it, much of the guide system had rotted away.”
A few years ago, a cover on a different digester failed completely and was replaced.
“This one, we don’t think the cover has failed,” Pilachowski said. “We think there’s a lot of life left in it, but we want to inspect the cover before we put it back online.”
Pilachowski said he believes the cover in question was installed in 1984, but he was unsure of their life expectancy.