DOWNRIVER UTILITY WASTEWATER AUTHORITY
December 9, 2021 MEETING MINUTES
HYBRID MEETING (due to COVID19)
1. Roll Call and Introductions
DUWA Chair Gail McLeod (Allen Park) called the hybrid meeting to order at 9:05 AM and asked for roll call to be taken. At the time of roll call, voting representatives were in attendance from 11 communities either in person or virtually via Zoom: Allen Park, Belleville, Dearborn Heights, Ecorse, Lincoln Park, River Rouge, Riverview, Romulus, Southgate, 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 Dave Flaten (Ecorse) and supported by Dustin Lent (Southgate) to approve the Agenda. The motion passed unanimously by all attending members.
3. Approval of Minutes from November 12, 2021 Board Meeting
Copies of the meeting minutes from the November 12, 2021 Board meeting were distributed by email prior to the meeting (Attachment 2). Motion by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) and supported by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) 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 related to VJM’s roofing repair work at the DWTF, the Arkema sewer outfall easement, and permit extensions, among others. The Fausone Bohn team has also participated in Technical Committee meetings. The team has reviewed Veolia’s contract unit rate adjustments.
Attorney Fausone also noted that the DUWA Board has been operating under the revisions to the Open Meetings Act that allowed for public bodies to meet and conduct business virtually. These revisions are set to expire at the end of the year unless extensions are granted by the State or Wayne County. Thus, voting members should plan to attend DUWA Board meetings in person beginning in January of 2022 unless otherwise notified.
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).
System Manager Monthly Report
System Manager Kaunelis noted the following highlights from the System Manager Report:
- Veolia currently performs monthly reconciliations of quantities and unit prices under their current contract. Veolia’s 10% markup also applies to these reconciled costs. Veolia is in the process of preparing an amendment to their contract with adjusted quantities to minimize the monthly reconciliation amounts, especially considering the dryers will be coming online in the next few months. This contract amendment is expected to be presented at the January Board meeting for Board consideration. It is desired for the contract amendment to be effective January 1, 2022 to simplify budget year tracking.
- Raftelis presented the estimated cost impact of the proposed rate methodology to DUWA’s communities at the Town Hall on December 3, 2021. The magnitude of some of the changes are larger than expected. More work will be done to gain confidence in the numbers and to ensure all communities understand the proposed changes.
- The Elected Officials luncheon was held on December 7th. This luncheon was intended to help the communities stay in touch with DUWA activities and to assist with leadership transitions. The luncheon was very successful and had great participation. A tour of the DWTF was conducted after the luncheon. The attendees were pleased to learn about what is going on at DUWA and were impressed with Veolia staff and the magnitude of work that is being performed throughout the system.
- The System Manager approved two contract changes since the last Board meeting due to the urgency of these projects.
i. The System Manager approved Intertek’s Change Order #5 on November 24th for additional oversight for the roofing repair work (Attachment 5). VJM, the roofing contractor, has been performing this work, while Intertek has been performing construction observation. The original completion date for this project was November 15th. Formal notice has been provided to VJM that liquidated damages for project delays are anticipated. Due to the extended project schedule, additional oversight days are needed by Intertek. Intertek’s Change Order #5 included 6 half days and 2 full days for a project cost increase of $5,880.
ii. The Board previously authorized an allowance of up to $6,380 for additional sealant or tuck-pointing efforts related to the brick repair project at the Influent Pump Station. The allowance for these efforts is no longer anticipated, however additional brick work to replace defective limestone was identified and deemed important to include in the project scope. The additional brick work cost was $3,000 (Attachment 6). The Technical Committee recommended this work for approval, and since the cost is within the initial allowance, the System Manger approved of this work to be paid from the Small Capital Budget via the project’s allowance.
Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) asked if Veolia’s contract amendment will be reviewed by the Legal Committee prior to being presented to the Board. System Manager Kaunelis responded that the contract amendment will be reviewed by both the Legal and Technical Committees before being presented to the Board. Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) stated that she saw the new brick work at the Influent Pump Station during the DWTF tour and understands that several portions of the wall had collapsed. She noted that the new brick work looked very nice.
a. Biosolids Dryer Facility Project
The biosolids dryer facility monthly progress report is provided in the pre-meeting Board package (Attachment 7). A dry start-up of the dryers (without biosolids) is scheduled for December to ensure all equipment is working properly. Wet start-up of the dryers will be delayed due to the delay in the delivery of the glass-lined ductile iron pipe fittings that are to be installed on the piping from the centrifuge bins to the dryers. Initially, suppliers predicted a 20-week delay for this material, however the construction team recently obtained a commitment to receive the fittings in four to six weeks, so the delay will not be as significant as initially thought.
6. Other Requests for Authorizations and Approvals
System Manager Lambrina Tercala, of OHM Advisors, provided the following requests to
a. Wayne County O&M Permit Application
DUWA maintains an annual permit with Wayne County that allows Veolia to occupy Wayne County road rights-of-way to perform operation and maintenance activities for the Downriver Sewage Disposal System. The permit is set to expire at the end of 2021. The annual permit package for 2022 included different terms and conditions than those included in previous years. The Fausone Bohn team assisted with addressing these new terms and conditions, which also included the requirement of a Board resolution accepting the permit package (Attachment 8). Additionally, DUWA is recognized as a municipality per the new permit terms. The permit fee is $1,000, which will be paid from DUWA’s Plant Operations – Operating Permits budget line item.
Motion by Dustin Lent (Southgate) and supported by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) to authorize the System Manager to sign the Wayne County permit package and pay the $1,000 application fee, as well as authorize the Chair or Vice Chair to certify the resolution for the 2022 Wayne County O&M Permit application. The permit fee will be paid from DUWA’s Plant Operations – Operating Permits budget line item. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
b. Worker’s Compensation Coverage
Although DUWA does not have any direct employees, DUWA maintains a Workers’ Compensation and Employers Liability Insurance Policy as recommended by DUWA’s insurance advisors. This insurance policy provides bodily injury coverage in the event someone claims to be a DUWA employee by way of being a contractor to DUWA. The current policy term with Accident Fund expires on January 17, 2022. A fee of $434 is required to renew this policy through January 17, 2023 (Attachment 9).
Motion by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to approve the Workers’ Compensation and Employers Liability Insurance Policy renewal by Accident Fund from 01/17/2022 through 01/17/2023 for a total cost of $434. The cost shall be applied against DUWA’s Insurance Premiums budget line item. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
c. 2022 Insurance Renewals
Last year, DUWA secured three insurance carriers for Package Liability, Inland Marine, and Property coverages per Aon’s (DUWA’s insurance broker’s) recommendation. These three policies are up for renewal for 2022 coverage (Attachment 10).
Chubb is the selected carrier for Property Insurance. Chubb conducted a site visit and identified areas for further consideration for coverage considering that the DWTF is located in a floodplain. Chubb recommended DUWA consider a property survey to delineate the floodplain boundaries within the property limits. This effort would not increase the policy fee. The proposed 2022 Chubb policy fee is $300,023, which is a 10% increase from the existing fee. It was expected that the 2022 fee would be 10% – 20% higher than the existing fee, so the proposed 2022 fee is on the low end of this range.
Hudson is the selected carrier for Package Liability insurance. The proposed 2022 Hudson policy fee is $140,030 inclusive of the Michigan Surplus Lines Tax. This is a 3.6% increase from the existing fee. It was expected that the 2022 fee would be 5% – 10% higher than the existing fee, so the proposed 2022 fee is lower than expected.
Hanover is the selected carrier for Inland Marine insurance which covers damage to the sanitary sewer interceptors resulting from natural hazards or construction activities. This coverage is unique in that most other insurance providers do not offer this coverage. The proposed 2022 Hanover policy fee is $62,500, which is unchanged from the existing fee.
The total combined 2022 policy fees are 6.8% higher than the existing fees, which aligns with what was expected based on the current market. These fees exclude the Terrorism premium, which is consistent with DUWA’s 2021 insurance elections.
The System Manager also communicated with MML, another insurance provider, to compare costs and coverages. If DUWA were to switch to MML, costs would remain generally the same and deductibles would be lower, however, there would be some items that would no longer be covered. The Fausone Bohn team is further reviewing the MML policy for DUWA’s future consideration.
Motion by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to authorize the Chair or Vice Chair to execute agreement(s) with Hudson for the 12-month Package Liability coverage renewal without election of the terrorism premium. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
Motion by Dustin Lent (Southgate) and supported by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) to authorize the Chair or Vice Chair to execute agreement(s) with Hanover for the 12-month Inland Marine Floater coverage renewal without election of the terrorism premium. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
Motion by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) and supported by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) to authorize the Chair or Vice Chair to execute agreement(s) with Chubb for the 12-month Property Insurance coverage renewal without election of the terrorism premium. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
d. SEMCOG DMA Dues
DUWA is a member of SEMCOG’s Designated Management Agency (DMA) program, which supports regional water resource management planning activities. Under the DMA program, SEMCOG looks for ways to further collaborate on water, wastewater, and storm water activities. SEMCOG publishes an annual report detailing ongoing water resource planning activities in the region. DUWA’s DMA fee for 2021-2022 is $4,022 (Attachment 11). The fee for DUWA was decreased by 14% back in 2014 after SEMCOG reviewed fees across the region.
Motion by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) and supported by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) to approve payment to SEMCOG for the 2021-2022 Designated Management Agency fee of $4,022. The invoice is included in this month’s register. This fee will be paid from DUWA’s ‘Other Services & Charges – Professional Services’ budget line item. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
e. Biosolids Dryer Facility – Addition of Gas Regulator
Veolia has been working with DTE on the new natural gas service application related to the additional gas usage expected when the Biosolids Dryer Facility is online. DTE indicated that a new gas regulator is required to be installed in the Solids Handling Building to control the pressure to 5 psi after the existing meter. Walsh provided a do-not-exceed quote of $39,787.65, inclusive of their 5% subcontractor markup, for the installation of the 4-inch gas regulator and associated work (Attachment 12). Walsh included a conservative value for the labor effort as the new regulator will be installed on an older gas line. This work is scheduled to be completed in March, and the fee is within the Biosolids Dryer Facility project budget. The Technical Committee reviewed this proposed scope of work and recommended it for Board approval.
Motion by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) and supported by Dustin Lent (Southgate) to approve Walsh’s change order request for a new DUWA-owned gas regulator for the Biosolids Dryer Facility project in a not-to-exceed amount of $39,787.65. This will be paid from DUWA’s Biosolids Dryer Facility line item of the capital budget. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
f. NPDES Permit Renewal Fees
The DWTF holds an active NPDES permit with EGLE which allows the DWTF to discharge treated wastewater into the Detroit River. The NPDES permit is required to be renewed annually for a fee of $20,000 (Attachment 13).
Motion by Dustin Lent (Southgate) and supported by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) to authorize payment to EGLE for $20,000 for the DWTF’s current NPDES permit renewal fee, as well as for future annual NPDES permit renewal fees. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
7. Contract Operator Update
Jason Tapp, of Veolia, provided the Contract Operator update.
a. October 2021 MOR
The October 2021 Monthly Operating Report (MOR) was provided in the Board’s pre-meeting packet (Attachment 14). Highlights from the summary and other updates included the following:
- Jason Tapp, Veolia’s Maintenance Manager, introduced Travis Tuma, Veolia’s Operations Manager, to the Board. Mr. Tuma oversees the operators and ensures they have what they need to do their jobs.
- October was a very wet month compared to October 2020. The last three months have been the wettest months over the last 24 months. The average flow through the plant has been 65 MGD compared to the typical 40 MGD.
- There was one wet weather event in October that resulted in blending. The DWTF has now had 6 blending events this year, but it is hopeful that there will be no more this year.
- Plant operations were in compliance for October, with no violations.
- 330 Miss Dig tickets were submitted in October, including a few emergency tickets. This is within the average 250-350 tickets per month.
- Many maintenance activities have been completed, including the following:
- Large outdoor activities including tank inspections and clarifier rebuilds have been completed.
- Veolia has installed 300 LED lights since taking over operations, and light replacements are continuing.
- Rags were found in a pump impeller after noticing the pump had a reduced output. The plant continues to receive large amounts of flushable wipes, which can result in damaged equipment and impacts to plant operations.
- The secondary clarifiers were drained for maintenance. Degradation of the box structures were identified and these were repaired. Long term repairs are planned for the clarifiers, and Veolia is currently obtaining pricing.
- The final flow baffle was installed as a part of the Control Measure A project. The clarifier now has a 137.5 MGD flow capacity. Flows have reached 135 MGD, and everything appeared to work well.
- Veolia continues to look for ways to conserve water and electricity. Flow meters have been installed on City and potable water lines to dial in water usage. Veolia is aiming to achieve 40% water use reduction by the end of the year compared to when they took over operations.
- The food-to-mass ratios are trending as expected. The plant started receiving glycol the first week of December.
- Maintenance KPIs are tracking well. These KPIs are tracked to ensure preventative work orders are effective and are not resulting in corrective work orders.
- Large outdoor activities including tank inspections and clarifier rebuilds have been completed.
Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) asked if Veolia could provide pictures and cost data associated with the issues/damages caused by flushable wipes. She would like to share this information with the State representative and senator to indicate that this is an ongoing issue and to encourage the manufacturers to note that these wipes cannot be flushed. Jason Tapp, of Veolia, stated that he will compile some information to share.
Mr. Tapp also noted that the manufacturer has been changing the way the flushable wipes are made, but they have not seen any improvement at the DWTF. He noted that the large control valves at the DWTF collected so many rags that they would bind the pipe shut, so Veolia replaced that style of valve with a different kind of valve to eliminate issues.
Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) asked if either Veolia or the System Manager should create a public service announcement to air on the public cable network to let residents know not to flush these flushable wipes. He stated that Romulus created a similar public service announcement for a local neighborhood, and it proved to be effective. He also offered Romulus’ studio to transmit the message if needed. Dustin Lent (Southgate) added that GLWA created a short video in 2018/2019 to educate residents about the impacts of flushable wipes, and suggested that this video be shared with residents. Rick Rutherford (Belleville) noted that there is a medical facility that regularly provides these flushable wipes and added that it would be beneficial to share this information through as many media outlets as possible. Program Manager Kelly Irving, of Veolia, added that Veolia has some videos to share related to the impacts of flushable wipes as well. System Manager Tercala will be the primary point person to distribute available information and will work with Veolia to identify next steps to assist with educating the public.
8. Treasurer’s Report
a. 2022 Financial Calendar
Treasurer Jason Couture stated that the 2022 Financial Calendar is included in the Board package (Attachment 15).
Motion by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) and supported by Todd Saums (Van Buren Township) to approve the 2022 Financial Calendar. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
b. Resolution to Adopt CY2022-2023 Budget (2-Year)
Treasurer Jason Couture stated that the Resolution to adopt the CY2022-2023 Budget is included in the Board package (Attachment 16). The budget was discussed at length during the last Board meeting, and there have been no requests for revisions.
Motion by Todd Saums (Van Buren Township) and supported by Dustin Lent (Southgate) to approve the Resolution 2020-003 adopting the CY2022-2023 Budget. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
c. Aging AR
Treasurer Jason Couture presented the Aging Accounts Receivable report (Attachment 17). According to the Aging Accounts Receivable report, Belleville has an outstanding payment greater than 120 days due to the recent adjustments related to the non-residential user fees. The payment has since been received, but has not yet been included in the Aging Accounts Receivable report. Dearborn Heights has an outstanding payment over 60 days, and this is in the process of getting resolved. Payments from the IPP customers are starting to come in. There were many delayed payments due to COVID as many companies transitioned to online payments. Treasurer Jason Couture noted that the addition of the Aging AR item to the Board agenda a few months ago has improved timely invoice payments.
d. Pending Invoices
Treasurer Jason Couture presented the invoice register for a request for payment. The invoice register was provided in the pre-meeting packet (Attachment 18). The invoice register included 38 invoices due for a total of $3,901,481.76. Treasurer Couture noted that the invoice register total appears to be $5.3M, but the senior debt payment that was paid last month was accidentally included in this month’s invoice register, so the $1.4M listed in debt service is not requested for payment. Largest invoices included those to Veolia for O&M costs and unit cost reconciliations, Walsh for the biosolids dryer facility project, and Wyandotte for utility services.
Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) asked if the Finance Committee reviewed the proposed 2022-2023 budget. Treasurer Couture confirmed it was reviewed by the Finance Committee.
Motion by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) and supported by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) to pay the invoice register. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
9. Public Comment
There was no public comment.
10. Other Business
System Manager Tercala presented the proposed 2022 Board Meeting Schedule (Attachment 19). She noted that the Board meetings take place on the second Thursday of each month, and ensured that the November Board meeting did not conflict with Veterans Day. Meetings may be conducted in-person or in a hybrid format depending on the Open Meetings Act regulations in place at that time.
Motion by Dustin Lent (Southgate) and supported by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) to accept the 2022 Board Meeting schedule. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
System Manager Tercala also reminded the Board that re-election of elected officials will occur in January 2022. All existing officers are eligible to continue in their current positions. She asked the Board Commissioners to let her know if anyone is interested in a Board officer position.
Todd Saums (Van Buren Township) thanked the Board for welcoming him into his new role as Board Commissioner for Van Buren Township as Jim Taylor, the previous representative, has retired.
11. Next Board Meeting Date: Thursday, January 13, 2022 (9:00 AM; In-Person)
Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) reminded the Board that the next meeting would take place on Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 9:00 AM in-person at Taylor City Hall. Chairperson McLeod wished everyone a happy holiday and Happy New Year, and expressed her appreciation to everyone for all they do to support DUWA.
There being no other business, Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) announced that a motion to adjourn would be in order. Motion by Dustin Lent (Southgate) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to adjourn the meeting. Motion passed unanimously at 9:57 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. November 12, 2021 DUWA Board Meeting Minutes
3. Monthly Legal Update (by Fausone Bohn)
4. System Manager Report for December 2021 Board Meeting (by OHM Advisors)
5. Intertek Change Order #5
6. Grunwell-Cashero Scope of Work for Additional Block Replacement
7. Biosolids Dryer Facility Project November 2021 Monthly Progress Summary (by Veolia)
8. Wayne County O&M Permit Resolution and Payment Fee
9. Workers’ Compensation Insurance Renewal
10. 2022 Insurance Renewals
11. SEMCOG Designated Management Agency Dues
12. Gas Regulator for Biosolids Dryer Facility Project
13. Payment of Current and Future NPDES Permit Fees
14. Monthly Operating Report for October 2021 (by Veolia)
15. 2022 Financial Calendar
16. CY2022-2023 Budget Resolution (by Doug Drysdale)
17. Aged Accounts Receivable Report, dated December 3, 2021 (by Doug Drysdale)
18. Invoice Register, dated December 3, 2021 (by Doug Drysdale)
19. 2022 Board Meeting Schedule (by Lambrina Tercala)