Hanover must act on sewer improvements

HANOVER – After months of consideration, the Hanover Town Board decided some upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant cannot wait.

It was discussed at the town board’s last meeting that some of the upgrades planned for the plant may not be necessary if Lake Shore Hospital closes.

It was also decided a list of priorities should be made.

At the board’s meeting Monday, it was clear at least one upgrade needs swift action.

Wastewater Operator Mark Ellis explained that just after the last meeting, one of the town’s three rotating biological contactors (RBCs) broke.

“This is the worst failure we have ever had,” Ellis said of the 33-year-old equipment used to remove grit through a screening process.

He said he is unsure whether the RBC can be fixed and was forced to bring the third RBC online that was previously leaking oil. He said without two working RBCs the town will lose its permit.

Councilman Kevin O’Connell presented the list of prioritized projects to the board with new RBCs topping the list.

The list was set up with three phases and phase one into three parts. He said Phase 1 needs immediate attention and Phases 2 and 3 need attention but not right away.

Phase 1A includes three RBCs, an enclosure for $650,000 and structural concrete repairs for $25,000. Phase 1B includes an influent pump and controls for $137,500, replacement of the main feed pipe for $75,000, mechanically cleaned bar screen and controls for $475,000 and vortex grit removal system for $400,000. Phase 1C is for upgrades to the Sunset Bay pump station starting with two new 25-horsepower pumps for $110,000, an emergency generator for $125,000 and concrete repairs for $25,000. Phase 2 includes a new digestor for $500,000 and digestor aeration improvements for $50,000. Phase 3 includes primary clarifier equipment and structural repairs for $300,000 and final clarifier equipment and structural repairs for $400,000.

Taken off the original project were a sludge off loading station for $150,000, sludge dewatering equipment for $400,000, sludge dewatering building for $125,000 and another influent pump for $137,500.

Taking contingency, fiscal, legal, administrative and engineering costs into account, the prioritized projects are estimated to cost $4.14 million. This is about $1 million less than the original project estimate of $5.3 million. O’Connell said he hopes with better interest rates being offered by the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) and competitive construction bidding the price could be under or around the $4 million mark.

“Our priorities have not changed but the environment is different than when we started planning the project,” he said. “We are functioning now but we need to make sure we can still keep up in the peak summer season. We need to move ahead, things are breaking down and we can’t wait much longer.”

Ellis also had bad news for the town’s situation.

“I called and an RBC takes six months just to be made; they are not just something you can order off a shelf,” he said estimating it would take eight months if it was ordered immediately.

Town Attorney Jeffrey Passafaro said the town must advertise for bids on the RBCs because of the price.

He also explained the town does not have to have a public hearing on the change in the scope of the project but will need one when it decides to finance the project with a bond anticipation note (BAN) which will then be made into long-term financing through EFC.

Before that time the town will need to meet with Municipal Solutions to determine EFC funding and GHD Engineering. The board told Ellis to get ahold of the engineer to get specifications on the RBCs so that portion of the project can be advertised for bids at the next meeting on Feb. 10.