DOWNRIVER UTILITY WASTEWATER AUTHORITY
April 8, 2021 MEETING MINUTES
VIRTUAL MEETING (due to COVID19)
1. Roll Call and Introductions
DUWA Chair Gail McLeod (Allen Park) called the virtual meeting to order at 9:01 AM and asked for roll call to be taken. At the time of roll call, voting representatives were in attendance from 11 communities: Allen Park, Belleville, Brownstown Township, Dearborn Heights, Ecorse, Lincoln Park, River Rouge, Romulus, Taylor, Van Buren Township, and Wyandotte. A quorum (at least 7 members) was present.
Craig Lyon is now the Board commissioner and voting representative for Taylor, replacing Keith Boc who has retired.
2. Approval of Agenda
Copies of the Agenda were made available prior to the meeting (Attachment 1). Motion by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to approve the Agenda.
Due to the meeting being held virtually, a roll call vote was completed for Board actions. A roll call vote was taken to approve the agenda. The motion passed unanimously by all attending members.
3. Approval of Minutes from March 11, 2021 Board Meeting
Copies of the meeting minutes from the March 11, 2021 Board Meeting were distributed by email prior to the meeting (Attachment 2). Motion by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) and supported by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) to approve the minutes. A roll call vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously by all attending members.
4. Legal Update
Attorney Jim Fausone, of Fausone Bohn, provided the Legal Update.
a. General Counsel Monthly Report
Attorney Fausone stated that a written summary of the monthly legal update was provided in the pre-meeting Board packet (Attachment 3), and he had no further comments to add. He noted that it was a pretty standard month in terms of work activities. Various contracts that the Fausone Bohn team has been involved with will be discussed further during the ‘Requests for Authorizations and Approvals’ portion of the meeting.
5. System Manager Update
System Manager Vyto Kaunelis, of OHM Advisors, provided a verbal summary of activities since the last meeting. A written summary was provided in the pre-meeting Board packet for the System Manager Report (Attachment 4).
a. System Manager Monthly Report
System Manager Kaunelis noted the following highlights from the System Manager Report:
• The first draft of the Vulnerability Analysis was received from HRC. The system’s risk to high river levels is relatively low.
• ASI developed three alternatives for the proposed reconfiguration of the flow metering program. The alternatives include an expanded program, a reduced program, and a refinement of the existing program. These alternatives were reviewed with the Technical Committee, and there was support for reconfiguration of the flow metering program. There was also support for using the flow metering data to help guide the rate methodology development process. Raftelis will use this information to develop the rate methodology alternatives.
• The EPA conducted a major announcement of the WIFIA loan to DUWA through a virtual press conference. The participants included EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Governor Whitmer, Senator Stabenow, Representatives Dingell and Tlaib, and Mayor Kuspa. This announcement was also reported in the News Herald. There were some inaccuracies in the News Herald article regarding water versus sewer rates and the need for rate increases. The article’s inaccuracies have been raised to the author.
• The rate package is currently being drafted, and will be presented at the Finance Committee meeting next week for review. After a couple years of operation, the database of financial information is growing and shows how Veolia has been able to implement processes to save on utility costs.
Jim Taylor (Van Buren Township) asked when the Vulnerability Analysis will be complete. System Manager Kaunelis responded that it needs to be reviewed, but should be ready to share with the Technical Committee within the next two weeks. Attorney Kerry Morgan (Riverview) asked if he could receive a copy of the NPDES permit renewal application. Veolia Program Manager Kelly Irving responded that she can download the online application and share it with Attorney Morgan noting that it may not be in the most readable format.
Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) asked the Board Commissioners to be prepared for feedback regarding the News Herald article about the WIFIA loan as there were inaccuracies reported in the article, including inaccuracies regarding the need for rate increases. System Manager Kaunelis added that many of the inaccuracies have since been corrected, but the headline could not be changed.
b. Biosolids Dryer Facility Project
The biosolids dryer facility monthly progress report is provided in the pre-meeting Board package (Attachment 5). Demolition has occurred and concrete work is in progress. The design layout is being finalized. Construction has slowed as the equipment is still being manufactured, but it will pick up again once the equipment arrives onsite next month.
6. Other Requests for Authorizations and Approvals
System Manager Lambrina Tercala, of OHM Advisors, provided the following requests to the Board.
a. WIFIA Loan Maintenance Fees
Two motions are requested for payment of WIFIA loan fees. As a part of securing the WIFIA loan, DUWA submitted a $100k application fee to EPA to pay for the legal, financial, and technical services provided by EPA’s outside support staff to finalize the loan. The $100k fee was an initial estimate for these efforts. The final invoice received from EPA is for $199,930, which includes the previously paid $100k, for a remaining fee of $99,930. This fee is eligible as part of DUWA’s match to the WIFIA loan.
Additionally, a one-time service setup fee and initial construction period servicing fee totaling $18,630 are also due to EPA as required by the WIFIA Loan Agreement. This fee will be paid from DUWA’s Administrative Charges budget as it is not WIFIA match eligible.
Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) asked what the annual servicing fee is for. System Manager Tercala responded that the annual servicing fee is for maintenance of the loan by EPA staff throughout the life of the loan. Greg Mayhew (Wyandotte) asked whether the servicing setup fee is a one-time fee. System Manager Tercala confirmed that the servicing setup fee is a one-time fee.
Motion by Jim Taylor (Ven Buren Township) and supported by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) to approve payment to EPA for $99,930 for the remaining balance of the WIFIA closing cost. This payment is eligible as part of DUWA’s match to the WIFIA loan. A roll call vote was taken, and the motion passed with 86.5% of the vote. Motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
Motion by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) and supported by Greg Mayhew (Wyandotte) to approve payment to EPA for $18,630 for initial loan maintenance fees. This fee will be paid from DUWA’s Administrative Charges, Banking Fee budget and is not WIFIA match eligible. A roll call vote was taken, and the motion passed with 86.5% of the vote. Motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
b. NPDES Renewal Fee
OHM and Veolia have worked to prepare a NPDES permit renewal application, which is required every four years for the discharge of treated wastewater. The renewal application requires a $750 fee plus a $15 handling charge. Veolia already paid this fee when they submitted the permit renewal application via EGLE’s online MI Waters system. This fee is a pass-through cost with no markup, and will be paid from DUWA’s Plant Operating Expenditures budget.
Motion by Greg Mayhew (Wyandotte) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to approve payment to Veolia for $765 for the NPDES renewal application fee of $765. This fee will be paid from DUWA’s Plant Operating Expenditures, Operating Permits budget. A roll call vote was taken, and the motion passed with 86.5% of the vote. Motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
c. Walsh Contract Addendum No. 2 for DBA Wages
As required by the WIFIA loan, Walsh, as the progressive design-build entity for the Biosolids Dryer Facility project, must comply with the WIFIA cross cutters including Davis Bacon prevailing wages and American Iron and Steel. During the WIFIA loan closing efforts, it was discovered that Addendum #1 between DUWA and Walsh was missing an attachment for the Davis Bacon prevailing wages. Addendum #2 is verbatim from Addendum #1, but also includes the Davis Bacon prevailing wages attachment. These wages are based on a date of October 2020 when construction efforts by Walsh began. There is no monetary impact by Addendum #2.
Kerry Morgan asked who is responsible for completing certifications and ensuring compliance with these cross cutters. System Manager Tercala responded that Veolia CPM is responsible for reviewing pay applications and ensuring cross cutter requirements are met. Veolia Program Manager Kelly Irving added that Jason Nash, Veolia’s new primary CPM, has many years of experience working on federal projects and is very familiar with the paperwork required to demonstrate compliance. Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) asked whether wage interviews with staff are being conducted to ensure they are being paid correctly. System Manager Tercala responded that wage interviews are commencing for the Biosolids project and have been completed for the Alkali sewer project as they are required by the loan. The wage interviews for the Biosolids project are being conducted by Veolia CPM, and HRC for the Alkali sewer project.
Motion by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) and supported by John Selmi (Dearborn Heights) to authorize the Chair or Vice Chair to execute Walsh’s Addendum No 2. A roll call vote was taken, and the motion passed with 86.5% of the vote. Motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
d. 2021 Critical Roof Repair Construction Contract
DUWA worked with PSI and Bloom Roofing to perform critical emergency repairs in the fall of 2020. Following that emergency work, an RFP for Critical Roof Repairs and Maintenance at the DWTF was bid in mid-February to address other roofing issues. While there was much interest in the work, only two bids were received, and both quotes were much higher than PSI’s recommended $400k budget. Post interviews were conducted with both bidders to understand the reason for the high costs, and it was identified that their labor costs were much higher than expected for the proposed work due to a demanding market and schedule overlap. Material pricing was aligned with expectations. Additionally, the roof repairs involve working in small spaces amongst many different roof sections, so there is expected to be a lot of mobilization and demobilization.
OHM then coordinated with PSI to reach out to other potential vendors and assess if a rebid could provide for improved pricing by expanding the network of interested bidders. If was determined that this would be a favorable approach, and thus a rebid was issued. Five bids were received ranging in price from $416k to $943k, and both of the previous bidders rebid the project. Following post interviews, PSI recommended that the low bidder of VJM Design and Build Corporation, of Waterford, MI, be selected. This project is WIFIA eligible and the work would be funded by WIFIA and/or a combination of DUWA’s Capital and Small Capital budgets for FY2021 and 2022.
Rick Rutherford (Belleville) asked if this project was publicly bid. System Manager Tercala responded that this project was publicly bid via DUWA’s website, and DUWA and PSI reached out to potential vendors via phone and email to generate interest. Use of the MITN site is not currently available to DUWA. Greg Mayhew (Wyandotte) asked whether repairs were needed on various portions of different buildings. System Manager Tercala confirmed that this is the case.
Motion by Greg Mayhew (Wyandotte) and supported by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) to authorize the Chair or Vice Chair to execute an agreement with VJM Design and Build Corporation at a cost of $415,555 pursuant to satisfactory terms and conditions by DUWA’s legal team. A roll call vote was taken, and the motion passed with 86.5% of the vote. Motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
e. February 2021 Emergency Replacement of Seal Water Pipe at DWTF
The Board was made aware of the need for emergency replacement of a broken seal water line in late February. Veolia utilized RJ&J as a subcontractor to perform the site work and pipe replacement. RJ&J had to excavate between the Administration building and IPS building to replace the broken 4-inch water seal line. The excavation was more involved than expected due to the depth of the pipe, and upon excavation, it was discovered that about 150 feet of a 2-inch parallel line also needed to be replaced due to deterioration. Veolia could not perform the concrete work in-house, but will perform the site restoration in-house. The total cost of the effort was $39,215, which includes RJ&J’s cost of $35,650 plus the 10% markup by Veolia. The emergency work cost appears to be a fair price based on the work effort involved. This project was not budgeted, but can be paid from DUWA’s Small Capital Project Program budget as it includes a placeholder for “Other Critical Repairs”.
Motion by Jim Taylor (Van Buren Township) and supported by John Selmi (Dearborn Heights) to remit payment to Veolia for $39,215 for services rendered as part of the emergency repair of the seal water pipe break in February 2021. The work will be funded as part of DUWA’s Small Capital Project budget. A roll call vote was taken, and the motion passed with 86.5% of the vote. Motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
7. Contract Operator Update
Kelly Irving, Veolia’s Program Manager, provided the Contract Operator update.
a. February 2021 MOR
The February 2021 Monthly Operating Report (MOR) was provided in the Board’s pre-meeting packet (Attachment 11). Highlights from the summary and other updates included the following:
• Flows were relatively low for the month of February as there was little wet weather (1.3 inches of rain).
• Plant operations were in compliance for the month of February, and no bypasses occurred.
• Old rooms have been cleaned out and a blueprint room has been created.
• Glycol loading is down due to warmer weather, which translates to less sludge production.
• Many maintenance activities were completed including removing an abandoned slide gate that was found at the bottom of the Influent Chamber. (The gate did not impede flow.)
• A revised BASF permit has been issued.
• There was a slight spike in PFAS concentrations in the influent, but the effluent concentrations remain low. Veolia hopes to be able to reduce their sampling frequency within the next year if the PFAS levels remain low.
• Many safety activities were completed.
• Electrical consumption is down, but Veolia is still looking for ways to further reduce electrical usage. Veolia is replacing all lights within the plant with LED lights.
• Oxygen consumption is good.
• Water consumption is down 20% from 2020. Veolia reduced water consumption at the plant by 20% between 2019 and 2020 as well.
• Polymer consumption is dialed in and on track.
8. Treasurer’s Report
a. Pending Invoices
Jason Couture (DUWA Treasurer) presented the invoice register for a request for payment. The invoice register was provided in the pre-meeting packet (Attachment 12). The invoice register included 40 invoices due for a total of $3,648,235.43. Largest invoices included those to US Bank for debt interest for the 2018 revenue bonds, Veolia for O&M services and unit cost reconciliation, Inland Waters for the Alkali Sewer Rehabilitation project, Walsh for the biosolids dryer facility project, Wyandotte for utility services, and the US EPA for WIFIA loan services and legal processing fees.
Motion by Greg Mayhew (Wyandotte) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to pay the invoice register. A roll call vote was taken, and the motion passed with 86.5% of the vote. Motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
9. Public Comment
System Manager Tercala reminded the Board that the draft rate package will be reviewed at the next Finance Committee meeting on Thursday, April 15th before bringing to the Board for approval at the May Board meeting. She encouraged all member communities to have representation at the Finance Committee meeting to review the draft rate package.
10. Other Business
There were no items brought forth for consideration as “Other Business” items.
11. Next Board Meeting Date: Thursday, May 13, 2021 (9:00 AM; Taylor City Hall or Virtual)
Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) reminded the Board that the next meeting would take place on Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 9:00 AM in person at Taylor City Hall and/or virtually via Zoom.
There being no other business, Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) announced that a motion to adjourn would be in order. Motion by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) and supported by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) to adjourn the meeting. Motion passed unanimously at 9:56 AM.
Meeting Minutes Prepared by:
Mackenzie Johnson, OHM Advisors, Engineer
Meeting Minutes Reviewed by:
Lambrina Tercala, OHM Advisors, DUWA System Manager
1. Meeting Agenda
2. March 11, 2021 DUWA Board Meeting Minutes
3. Monthly Legal Update (by Fausone Bohn)
4. System Manager Report for April 2021 Board Meeting (by OHM Advisors)
5. Biosolids Dryer Facility Project March 2021 Monthly Progress Summary (by Veolia)
6. WIFIA – EPA’s Final Cost of Issuance and Initial Maintenance Fees
7. EGLE NPDES Permit Renewal
8. Walsh Second Addendum for Biosolids Project (WIFIA Prj No 1)
9. 2021 Critical Roof Repair and Maintenance (RFP-2021-01B Rebid) Construction Authorization (WIFIA Prj 4-10)
10. Emergency Replacement of Seal Water Pipe at DWTF
11. Monthly Operating Report for February 2021 (by Veolia)
12. Invoice Register, dated April 1, 2021 (by Doug Drysdale)