Lagoon still an issue in SV

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 7:10 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 9:18 p.m. CDT

SPRING VALLEY — On Monday, Spring Valley City Council members wanted more information about a bid for enzymes for the sludge in the wastewater treatment lagoon, leading them to recess the meeting and reconvene Tuesday evening.

In-Pipe Technology Co. of Wheaton bid $66,000 to remove 25 percent of the sludge from the lagoon and $50,000 to remove 10 percent of the sludge. Their bid included mixing the enzymes into the sludge. Aquafix of Madison, Wis., bid $35,000 to remove 10 percent of the sludge with no mixing.

“If they don’t make the goal, they’re penalized,” city engineer Jack Kusek said.

Kusek wanted the council to take action on the bid prior to a meeting with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s attorneys on Wednesday. Council members seemed determined to choose In-Pipe because of the 25 percent sludge removal.

It will cost millions to remove the sludge from the lagoon and the less there is, the better. The enzymes will break down any organic components in the sludge and decrease its volume. In-Pipe was a shoe-in until questions were raised about the penalty amount.

Alderman Mike Richetta worried the company overestimated the percentage on purpose in the hopes that if they only reached the 10 percent amount, they would still get the $50,000 or even more. Kusek said there is a formula to calculate the penalty, but he did not have those calculations.

The council did not feel comfortable making a decision about the sludge bid until they knew they would not be stuck paying a high price if the company did not meet requirements. The meeting was recessed to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, prior to a Water and Sewer Committee meeting.

Kusek said he would have the penalty numbers for the council then, and they could make a decision on the bid.

In other business:

• Council members approved about $76,000 for work to Cleveland and Dakota streets. The north half of Dakota Street from McDonald’s to Gertrude will get new asphalt. A portion of Cleveland Street will have the brick removed and replaced with concrete and get about 80 feet of new curb. The job has to go out for bids and be approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

• Work on the water main extension at St. Bede has started. They will break for the softball season and then continue to work. It’s expected to take about two weeks to finish after they return from the break.

• The council voted in favor of a resolution to support the extension of the enterprise zone. Spring Valley is part of the Bureau-Putnam Enterprise Zone. Since its creation, the enterprise zone has created more than 1,000 jobs for the area.

• Council members also voted on an emendation to the residential anti-displacement and relocation assistance plan of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

What happened on Tuesday?

SPRING VALLEY — Spring Valley City Council approved the bid for an enzyme company at the continuation of the recessed council meeting on Tuesday.

In-Pipe Technology Co. of Wheaton bid $66,000 to remove 25 percent of the sludge from the wastewater treatment plant lagoon — $60,000 for 20 percent removal and $50,000 to remove 10 percent of the sludge. Their bid included mixing the enzymes into the sludge. Aquafix of Madison, Wis., bid $35,000 to remove 10 percent of the sludge with no mixing.

“We’re trying to reduce as much sludge as we possibly can,” Alderman Chuck Hanson said.

The council chose the $66,000 bid from In-Pipe after discussing the effect of penalties and incentives on the final cost. Alderman Mike Richetta worried the company may be bidding high, knowing that even if the only get 10 percent, they are still receiving significantly more than Aquafix.

City engineer Jack Kusek did not have the penalty and incentive figures at Monday’s meeting, which necessitated the recess. According to Kusek, for each percent either under or over the agreed upon amount of reduction — either a 4 percent increase or decrease in their payment with a cap at 20 percent. For example, if the company was able to reduce only 20 percent and agreed on 25, they would receive $52,800 instead of $66,000.

By approving the bid, it gives the city some ammunition when representatives talk to lawyers from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Attorney General’s Office; That meeting was scheduled for Wednesday. The city has been out of compliance on suspended solids because of algae in the treatment plant lagoon. The sludge is creating a food source, allowing the algae to rapidly grow.

The city hired environmental attorney Claire A. Manning of Brown, Hay and Stephens of Springfield to help with the negotiations. Manning said the purpose of the meeting is to show the city is developing a plan and moving forward with getting in compliance. They will examine and approve any plans the city has.

The sludge will have to be removed from the lagoon, which is expected to cost millions of dollars. The less sludge in the lagoon means less money to remove it. The city will take a reading in six months to see how well the enzymes are working to break down the organic material in the sludge.

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