DOWNRIVER UTILITY WASTEWATER AUTHORITY
SEPTEMBER 9, 2021 MEETING MINUTES
HYBRID MEETING (Taylor City Hall and Online)
1. Roll Call and Introductions
DUWA Chair Gail McLeod (Allen Park) called the hybrid meeting to order at 9:09 AM and asked for roll call to be taken. At the time of roll call, voting representatives were in attendance from 12 communities either in person or virtually via Zoom: Allen Park, Belleville, Dearborn Heights, Ecorse, Lincoln Park, River Rouge, Riverview, Romulus, Southgate, Taylor, Van Buren Township, and Wyandotte. A quorum (at least 7 members) was present.
2. Approval of Agenda
Copies of the Agenda were made available prior to the meeting (Attachment 1). Motion by Doug Drysdale (Riverview) and supported by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) to approve the Agenda. The motion passed unanimously by all attending members.
3. Approval of Minutes from August 12, 2021 Board Meeting
Copies of the meeting minutes from the August 12, 2021 Board meeting were distributed by email prior to the meeting (Attachment 2). Motion by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) and supported by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) to approve the minutes. 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). He noted that the Fausone Bohn team has been assisting the System Manager with contract reviews and community delegate issues as well as matters related to the Arkema easement sewer outfall. The Riverview Tunnel Agreement is being reviewed by the Legal and Technical Committees, and is anticipated to be presented to the Board at the October 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:
• EGLE has requested additional information for the requested changes to the blending work plan. Specifically, EGLE is asking how flows into the Riverdrive Interceptor are being controlled. EGLE may request additional information from the member communities as well.
• A meeting was held with GLWA to learn about how they are managing their IPP program and addressing PFAS issues. It was helpful to hear what they are doing as it validated DUWA’s approach.
• EGLE performed the IPP audit. Some minor changes to the Sewer Use Ordinance will be requested, and some amendments may also be made.
• The Technical Committee has discussed how to estimate the interceptor inflow and infiltration flow assignments. The community requests for additional flow meters will also be evaluated. Raftelis will provide the overall recommendations.
• DUWA received its first application for the Wastewater Exemption Program, and a site visit will be scheduled. It appears that industrial users are hearing about the program and interest is being generated.
• Eramosa will be onsite over the next couple weeks to perform the physical transition of the SCADA system.
b. Biosolids Dryer Facility Project
The biosolids dryer facility monthly progress report is provided in the pre-meeting Board package (Attachment 5). Construction is progressing well. The thermal oil heating facility foundation is complete. Video production of the facility is ongoing. Veolia staff visited a biosolids dryer facility in North Carolina to better understand the details of the process. The North Carolina facility uses pelletizing, which is a high maintenance item, and Jason Tapp, of Veolia, is pleased that DUWA did not decide to use pelletizing. Overall, the project looks impressive and is coming together nicely.
Craig Lyon (Taylor) asked what pelletizing is. System Manager Kaunelis responded that pelletizing involves bagging and selling the biosolids as a fertilizer product. It offers a different way of marketing the product.
6. Proposed Alternate Rate Methodology
Tom Beckley, of Raftelis, presented the “composite approach” rate methodology as was presented at length during the July 29th Town Hall. The primary difference between the existing and proposed methodology is that the proposed methodology will include a separate treatment rate (or strength of flow) from the volume rate. Overall, 59% of the operation and maintenance expense is attributed to strength of flow, and 41% is attributed to the volume of flow. Additionally, all or a portion of eight communities are proposed to be directly metered as opposed to only one community currently. All combined sewer areas will be directly metered.
Tom Beckley also noted that base flow has a different strength than excess flow, and the base flow will be determined by using data from only the winter months as opposed to all 12 months of the year. Raftelis will continue to work with individual communities to obtain and/or estimate data for the number of connected footing drains in each community to help estimate inflow and infiltration (I/I). It will be important to refine the inflow and infiltration estimate to ensure flows are not double counted in both the flow metering and I/I allocation.
Jim Taylor (Van Buren Township) stated that he takes issue with the strength of flow component in the rate methodology as he is unsure about the treatment cost allocation, which was taken from GLWA’s model. Tom Beckley responded that Raftelis is not proposing to use the GLWA model exactly, but rather using the idea. He added that no recognition of strength of flow in a rate methodology is not typical. Those who discharge more to the sanitary sewer should, in theory, pay more because of the stronger flow. A former Tetra Tech study also identified the additional cost of treating sanitary flow. Tom Beckley also noted that Van Buren Township and Belleville should expect to see a reduction in excess flow with this new methodology, but will likely see an increase in strength of flow since there is more base flow than excess flow. Jim Taylor (Van Buren Township) responded that his concern is with the development of the details of the treatment cost as the flows and treatment processes between DUWA and GLWA are different. Tom Beckley responded that the treatment cost methodology is similar to that of DUWA’s, but the treatment cost will be developed using data from DUWA specifically. The idea is to get the methodology approved and then see what the final treatment cost is calculated to be.
The goal is not to have dramatic changes to the cost, but rather to be more accurate. Dustin Lent (Southgate) added that this proposed methodology is not new to DUWA as DUWA used to consider both base flow and excess flow in the rate methodology up until 2006 when the excess flow component was removed to make it simpler for Wayne County. DUWA also went through the process of evaluating other companies to perform the rate methodology work, and Raftelis was selected based on their experience and qualifications. Dustin Lent (Southgate) stated that he appreciates Raftelis’ hard work and looks forward to the next steps.
Dave Flaten (Ecorse) asked whether the data recently submitted from the Ecorse engineers will be discussed at the next Technical Committee meeting. System Manager Tercala responded that no further refinement of data has been used. She noted that she sent out an email to a number of communities several days ago requesting local community data such as the number of connected footing drains. Once the data is received, it will be sent to Raftelis for their analysis. She also noted that Kyle Seidel is usually present at the Technical Committee meetings on behalf of Ecorse.
Attorney Kerry Morgan asked if there are any major cons to this proposed methodology. Tom Beckley responded that there is not a significant downside to this methodology, although it may seem more complicated since there are two volume rates included in the calculation. However, this methodology does not add complication, but rather provides a more simplified, accurate, and straightforward methodology. There will also be more focus on meter maintenance, which will be coordinated with Veolia and ASI, but this should not add much cost to DUWA.
Craig Lyon (Taylor) asked why metering irrigation separately was not considered. Tom Beckley responded this is a decision that each individual community could make, but in the end, the total flow mostly excludes irrigation aside from the small amount that may make its way into the sanitary system. Metering irrigation would not provide a significant improvement to the proposed methodology. The overall base rate charged to the community would be the same, but the resident who wants to irrigate could lower their bill as their sewer rate would be lower on their water bill. Dustin Lent (Southgate) added that the overall base flow will be calculated using data from only the winter months instead of the full year, so no irrigation should be included. System Manager Kaunelis stated that the overall base flow charge is to the community, but each community can decide how to charge their customers. For example, some communities use the winter average as the base rate and then subtract out the additional summer usage from the base rate. The challenge is that the sewer flow is still only an estimate of residential and retail users who do not have individual meters. There is also a significant cost to install irrigation meters. Veolia Program Manager Kelly Irving added that communities are currently being billed on their water consumption which includes irrigation usage, but with the proposed methodology, the sewer flow meters will be used for billing so the flow data from each community should be more accurate. System Manager Tercala stated that this is a Wastewater Exemption Policy issue, not a Raftelis issue. She clarified that DUWA does not allow irrigation flow to be removed from the flow calculation, but an irrigation meter can still be installed by the Community, if desired.
Attorney Jim Fausone (Fausone Bohn) stated that the Wastewater Exemption Policy has already been reviewed and approved by the Board, and states that irrigation will not be considered as an exemption. The use of data from the winter months should simplify the calculation of the base flow. This does not mean that there can not be irrigation meters installed, but irrigation flows will not be removed from the rate making process nor will be included as an exemption in the Wastewater Exemption Policy. Tom Beckley, of Raftelis, stated that the winter average usage will be used for the flow calculations of residential customers, and the yearly average usage will be used for the flow calculations of commercial customers.
Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) asked what the relationship is between the IPP customers and the strength of flow determination. Tom Beckley responded that the IPP program is for customers with high strengths of flow. This program will continue to exist as it currently does, and IPP users will continue to pay their required rates under the IPP program. The revenues from the IPP program will help offset any additional strength of flow costs stemming from the new methodology. Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) also stated that Raftelis has accomplished what was desired by DUWA, and noted that the backbone of the proposed rate methodology is similar to what was done before with a few tweaks to enhance its accuracy. Romulus is excited to move forward with this new methodology. Dustin Lent (Southgate) supported this comment.
A formal motion was not requested at this time, but an agreement by the Board to allow Raftelis to move forward with development of the cost model was requested. No objections were raised with the proposed rate methodology as presented, and the Board agreed to allow Raftelis to proceed with the cost model development. Dustin Lent (Southgate) then asked whether Attorney Fausone would recommend that a formal motion be made instead of an agreement, and Attorney Fausone responded that a formal motion should be made. A formal motion was then made by Dustin Lent (Southgate) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to have Raftelis’ move forward with the cost model as the next step of the rate methodology development process. Jim Taylor (Van Buren Township) noted that he still has many hesitations to the proposed rate methodology without seeing more details, and does not want this vote to be an impression that a final agreement has been made. It should be expected that there may still be some changes or refinement to the rate methodology, but he is willing to move forward so as not to stall the process.
Motion by Dustin Lent (Southgate) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to allow Raftelis to proceed with the next phase of the analysis of the proposed rate methodology development, as was outlined in the tasks listed in their contract. This motion is not to accept the rate methodology as presented, as there will still be further refinement and time for Board officers to express additional concerns. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
7. Other Requests for Authorizations and Approvals
System Manager Lambrina Tercala, of OHM Advisors, provided the following requests to the Board.
a. IPS Brick Repair
The exterior face of the IPS building requires brick restoration due to deterioration resulting from water infiltration at the roofline. Roof repair work is currently being completed at the IPS building as well. The Technical Committee recommended this project for approval with a 20% allowance for unit rate work, which includes sealant and tuck pointing.
Bids were received from three vendors, all with estimated costs around $35k. Grunwell-Cashero, the low bidder, had a scope of work closest to what was desired. A refined scope from Grunwell-Cashero was requested, and they provided a revised bid for a cost of $31,900 with an added unit cost rate of $15 per linear foot for tuck pointing and sealant work (Attachment 6). The base bid is consistent with what was expected, and this project will be funded from the Small Capital Budget.
Initially, DUWA was going to work directly with Grunwell-Cashero, but it was determined that it would be easier for Grunwell-Cashero to be a subcontractor to Veolia in regards to matters related to administration, insurance, and contract terms and conditions. Veolia will apply a 10% markup to the work, which will include their oversight of the project. The motion was revised to reflect that Grunwell-Cashero will be a subcontractor to Veolia, and to include the revised project cost of $42,108, which includes the base bid, 20% unit rate allowance, and 10% Veolia markup.
Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) asked if the 10% Veolia markup is applied to the total contract amount or the amount actually spent. Program Manager Irving responded that the 10% markup will be applied only to the actual cost of the project.
Motion by Jim Taylor (Van Buren Township) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to authorize Veolia for the IPS work at a total not-to-exceed fee of $42,108. The total not-to-exceed fee includes the base bid of $31,900, allowance of up to $6,380 for unit rate work, and Veolia’s 10% markup of up to $3,828. This project is budgeted from the Small Capital Budget. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
b. ‘As-Needed Engineering Services’ Contracts
A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was released to receive Statements of Qualifications for firms that would perform as-needed engineering services for DUWA. The Selection Committee reviewed the Statements of Qualifications from each of the 12 firms, and provided their recommendation of Hazen and Sawyer, HRC, and Wade Trim. The Board approved these recommendations at the August board meeting. Fausone Bohn prepared a separate draft contract for each of these three firms, and links to these contracts are available in the pre-meeting packet (Attachment 7). Comments on the draft contracts from Hazen and Sawyer and Wade Trim are currently being reviewed by the legal counsel.
Motion by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to allow the Chair or Vice Chair to execute the As-Needed Engineering Service contracts with each of the three recommended firms upon acceptable terms and conditions by DUWA’s legal counsel. A super-majority affirmative vote was required, and the motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
c. HRC As-Needed and Control Measure C Permitting Support
HRC has an As-Needed Engineering Services contract with DUWA, and is requesting to extend these services under an Incidental Services account within the existing contract. HRC has extensive experience at the DWTF, and has been available to assist with limited as-needed efforts such as the Part 41 permit efforts related to the blending work. HRC is requesting an additional $5k for their ongoing support of the system on an as-needed basis (Attachment 8). Tasks will be coordinated by OHM with support by Veolia.
Motion by Dustin Lent (Southgate) and supported by Doug Drysdale (Riverview) to approve HRC’s not-to-exceed $5k task order for Incidental Services per their As-Needed Service Contract with DUWA. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
d. DUWA Professional Service Contract Renewals
DUWA has been supported by OHM Advisors for System Management since 2017, Fausone Bohn for Legal Counsel since 2016, and Plante Moran for Financial Consulting Services since 2018. The existing 3-year term contracts for these firms expire in September 2021. There was no request to change firms, thus each firm prepared updated contracts for the Board’s consideration. Links to download the updated contracts are provided in the pre-meeting packet (Attachment 9).
OHM Advisors’ updated contract includes new rates effective October 1, 2021 per OHM’s Public Rate schedule. Billing rates will not change for key personnel unless otherwise approved by DUWA’s Board. Lambrina Tercala will be billed as an Associate at $185 per hour and Vyto Kaunelis will be billed as a Principal at $210 per hour. Hourly rates will increase 3% annually during the term of this Agreement beginning January 1, 2022. Additionally, the task of Wayne County coordination has been removed from the contract as this was part of the system transfer process.
Fausone Bohn’s updated contract includes new rates effective October 1, 2021. Partners will be billed at $230 per hour and Associates will be billed at $190 per hour, which is consistent with rates throughout the industry. Hourly rates will increase 3% annually during the term of this Agreement beginning January 1, 2022.
Plante Moran’s updated contract is for a 3-year term, and the billing rate for Beth Bialy will increase $5 per year. For the end of year audits, the budgeted fee will increase 3% each year. The single audit planned to be completed at the end of this year is not included in this contract, but the fee is estimated to range between $12k-$15k. A separate proposal for this work will be prepared.
Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) asked whether the not-to-exceed fees are set for each year, or if the fees will be brought to the Board each year for approval. System Manager Tercala responded that the budgets are set during DUWA’s typical budgeting period (end of year) and approved by the Board.
Jim Taylor (Van Buren Township) asked what the process was to initiate the contract renewal proposals and whether this was discussed with the Board officers. Attorney Fausone responded that a question was raised to the Board officers and Legal Committee several months ago on whether there was any desire to go out for bid instead of renewing any of these contracts, and there was no objection to the existing firms. This was also discussed at the quarterly Board Officer meetings.
Motion by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) and supported by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) to allow the Chair or Vice Chair to execute the renewal Professional Services Contracts with OHM Advisors as System Manager, Fausone Bohn as General Counsel, and Plante Moran as Financial Consultant and Auditor. A super-majority affirmative vote was required, and the motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
8. Contract Operator Update
Kelly Irving, Veolia’s Program Manager, provided the Contract Operator update.
a. July 2021 MOR
The July 2021 Monthly Operating Report (MOR) was provided in the Board’s pre-meeting packet (Attachment 10). Highlights from the summary and other updates included the following:
• Plant operations were in compliance for the month of July, with no violations.
• There were two blending events in July and one in August. This was communicated over Basecamp.
• The September 6-8 rain event resulted in approximately 0.5 inches of rainfall at most of the rain gauges, but almost an inch of rainfall was recorded at the Taylor-Goddard, New Boston, and Lincoln Park rain gauges.
• The operations and management teams have been spending time with contractors to coordinate shut downs for the biosolids work.
• Many maintenance activities have been completed including:
o Centrifuge #2 has been relocated for the biosolids project, and work has been performed on the screw conveyers.
o There have been multiple solids handling shut downs to coordinate with the contractors for the biosolids work. Coordination is going well.
o The solids handling control room has been relocated, which involved relocating the fluorine storage to allow for desk set ups for the operators.
o The bowl on Centrifuge #1 was replaced with the spare bowl assembly. There was a gear box issue, and the original quote for repair was about $11k, but Veolia was able to negotiate it down to under $10k so that the repair can be completed under normal repair maintenance without coming to the Board for approval.
o Gripper repairs were completed.
o Usable parts from the demolition of screw conveyers 3 and 4 were salvaged so that they can be used on other equipment as needed.
o The scum line for primary tank 2 was replaced.
o Maintenance was performed on the gear drive and chain of primary tank 1.
o Annual maintenance was performed on the primary and secondary clarifiers.
o Veolia is working with Ayyeka on the flow metering of the interceptor system. All remote transmitters have been installed. ADS is currently troubleshooting the communication issues with the ADS meters. All rainfall data is now available on the Cloud, and rainfall amounts across the system have been posted to Basecamp.
• The IPP audit was completed. Four people from EGLE visited the DWTF, reviewed documents, and visited four industrial user sites. Only a few minor deficiencies were identified, such as incorrect dates on permits. EGLE is preparing a report, and will hold a closing conference with Veolia.
• There is one maintenance position and one operator position available, and Veolia is currently conducting interviews.
• The safety audit was held in June, and much of July was spent correcting identified deficiencies such as trip hazards and missing tags.
• The use of chemicals and consumables such as electricity, oxygen, polymer, and water are all trending downward.
• The influent sample line relocation has been postponed several times due to wet weather, but Veolia will reschedule with HESCO to get this completed.
• Video production is ongoing at the DWTF. Videos will be used for marketing on Veolia’s website and DUWA’s website, and will also be used for training new employees and providing virtual tours of the site. Interviews and drone footage were completed on September 8th, and videography around the DWTF is ongoing today.
Craig Lyon (Taylor) asked what the pay range is for operators and maintenance staff. Program Manager Irving responded that the hourly rate for operators ranges between $20-$30 per hour depending on their level of experience. She stated that the hourly rate for maintenance staff is similar, and noted that operators and maintenance staff are union workers.
9. Treasurer’s Report
a. Aging AR
Jason Couture presented the Aging Accounts Receivable report (Attachment 11). This item was requested to be added to the agenda at the last Board meeting so that the Board officers are aware of any delinquent payments from their respective communities. According to the Aging Accounts Receivable report, Belleville, Dearborn Heights, River Rouge, and Riverview have outstanding payments greater than 120 days.
Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) asked why these payments are past due. Doug Drysdale (Riverview) responded that some are from last year when COVID-19 caused delays and payment issues. He also noted that Belleville recently got a new clerk. There are also corporate facilities on the list that are billed directly as opposed to being billed through the local community.
Motion by Dustin Lent (Southgate) and supported by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) to accept the Aging Accounts Receivable report. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
b. Pending Invoices
Jason Couture 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 26 invoices due for a total of $3,609,468.83. Largest invoices included those to Walsh for the biosolids dryer facility project, US Bank for the SRF bond payments, US EPA for the WIFIA loan payment, and Wyandotte for utility services.
System Manager Tercala noted that Veolia did not provide an invoice in time to be included on this month’s invoice register, so there will be two invoices in next month’s invoice register.
Motion by Jim Taylor (Van Buren Township) and supported by Dustin Lent (Southgate) to pay the invoice register. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
10. Public Comment
There was no public comment.
11. Other Business
There were no items brought forth for consideration as “Other Business” items.
12. Next Board Meeting Date: Thursday, October 14, 2021 (9:00 AM; Hybrid)
Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) reminded the Board that the next meeting would take place on Thursday, October 14, 2021 at 9:00 AM in a hybrid format (virtually via Zoom or in-person at Taylor City Hall). The Board meeting may take place at the City of Taylor’s new media center located next door to City Hall in front of the police station if it is ready and available.
There being no other business, Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) announced that a motion to adjourn would be in order. Motion by Jim Taylor (Van Buren Township) and supported by Dustin Lent (Southgate) to adjourn the meeting. Motion passed unanimously at 10:53 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. August 12, 2021 DUWA Board Meeting Minutes
3. Monthly Legal Update (by Fausone Bohn)
4. System Manager Report for September 2021 Board Meeting (by OHM Advisors)
5. Biosolids Dryer Facility Project August 2021 Monthly Progress Summary (by Veolia)
6. Request to Authorize IPS Brick Repair Project (Small Capital Budget)
7. Request to Execute the ‘As-Needed Engineering Service’ Contracts
8. Approval of Budget for Incidental Services by HRC
9. Renewal of System Manager, Legal Counsel, and Financial Consultant Service Contracts
10. Monthly Operating Report for July 2021 (by Veolia)
11. Aged Accounts Receivable Report, dated September 1, 2021 (by Doug Drysdale)
12. Invoice Register, dated September 1, 2021 (by Doug Drysdale)