DOWNRIVER UTILITY WASTEWATER AUTHORITY
January 13, 2022 MEETING MINUTES
HYBRID MEETING (due to COVID19)
- Roll Call and Introductions
DUWA Chair Gail McLeod (Allen Park) called the hybrid meeting to order at 9:00 AM and asked for roll call to be taken. At the time of roll call, voting representatives were in attendance from 10 communities: Allen Park, Dearborn Heights, Ecorse, Lincoln Park, Riverview, Romulus, Southgate, Taylor, Van Buren Township, and Wyandotte. A quorum (at least 7 members) was present.
- Approval of Agenda
Copies of the Agenda were made available prior to the meeting (Attachment 1). Motion by Doug Drysdale (Riverview) and supported by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) to approve the Agenda. The motion passed unanimously by all attending members.
- Approval of Minutes from December 9, 2021 Board Meeting
Copies of the meeting minutes from the December 9, 2021 Board meeting were distributed by email prior to the meeting (Attachment 2). Motion by Dustin Lent (Southgate) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to approve the minutes. The motion passed unanimously by all attending members.
- Legal Update
Attorney Brandon Grysko, of Fausone Bohn, provided the Legal Update.
a. General Counsel Monthly Report
Attorney Grysko stated that a written summary of the monthly legal update was provided in the pre-meeting Board packet (Attachment 3). He noted that the DUWA Board had been operating under the revisions to the Open Meetings Act that allowed for public bodies to meet and conduct business virtually. These revisions expired at the end of 2021, thus voting members must now attend DUWA Board meetings in person. Virtual participation will still be available for non-voting members.
Attorney Grysko stated that the Fausone Bohn team has been assisting the System Manager with various contract reviews. The Fausone Bohn team also participated in the Legal Committee meeting where the System Manager updated the legal team on technical issues and engagement. The issues with flushable wipes and potential legal solutions were also discussed. Attorney Grysko stated that it was a pleasure working with Veolia and their legal counsel to prepare their Seventh Amendment to their contract as it relates to unit rate adjustments. This amendment is provided in the Board’s pre-meeting packet and will be discussed later in this meeting.
- 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:
- System Manager Kaunelis stated that operations ran smoothly over the holidays, and hoped everyone enjoyed the holidays.
- The Sewer Use Ordinance is required to be updated to address a few minor issues that were identified during the IPP audit. Veolia submitted a letter to EGLE requesting approval of the updates to the Sewer Use Ordinance. Once approval is received from EGLE, the formal changes to the Sewer Use Ordinance will be brought to the Board for approval.
- Raftelis is continuing with the Rate Methodology work. Following the December 3rd Town Hall at which the estimated cost impacts of the proposed rate methodology on the communities was presented, various questions were raised. Raftelis is now preparing documentation to provide requested information and to answer questions. An educational session will be hosted by Raftelis on January 21st to walk through the spreadsheets in order to help the communities better understand the proposed methodology and assumptions before the FY2023 rates are approved.
- The new wastewater exemption policy is in place. This policy requires all industries who wish to be exempt to go through the exemption application process even if the industry had previously received an exemption. Very few industries have applied for an exemption since the new policy took effect, and some industries are still claiming exemptions without having applied.
- The bulk of the roof repair work is complete. VJM is working on completing the punch list items to finalize the project. There is ongoing discussion regarding the delay in project completion, and liquidated damages are expected to be assessed.
- The additional grouting work for the Fordline sewer is expected to be completed this week. This grouting work was initially planned to be completed over the holidays, but the contractor encountered staffing issues due to COVID.
- The brick work at the Influent Pump Station is complete and the results look nice.
- The Alkali sewer rehabilitation work is complete. Project close-out is moving forward as the contractor finalizes the paperwork.
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. Better information has been received on when the glass-lined ductile iron pipe fittings will be delivered. Construction schedules have been adjusted to account for this delay in delivery. Startup of the dryers is still expected to occur in the spring, with only a small delay in the original project schedule. Contract amendments due to this delay may be necessary, but have not yet been determined.
- Other Requests for Authorizations and Approvals
System Managers Lambrina Tercala and Mackenzie Johnson, of OHM Advisors, provided the following requests to the Board
a. Veolia Unit Rates
Veolia currently performs monthly reconciliations of quantities of consumables under their current contract. Veolia’s 10% markup applies to the reconciled costs above contract assumptions. The new biosolids dryer facility is expected to be online this spring and will result in a process change from a dewatering system to a drying system. The drying system is expected to produce 90% dry solids, which can be land applied instead of landfilled, providing a cost savings. This process change allows for Veolia to open their contract with DUWA to revise the baseline assumptions. A contract amendment has been prepared with revised estimated consumption amounts to minimize the monthly reconciliations needed (Attachment 6). This contract amendment will be Veolia’s Seventh Amendment to their existing O&M contract.
The contract amendment includes the following assumptions and scope adjustments:
- Sludge material change considering a dryer product
- Landfill and land application unit prices
- Addition of PFAS analysis as this is an emerging contaminant and routine sampling is required
- Removal of natural gas from Veolia’s scope. This will now be paid directly by DUWA in order to avoid the sales tax considering natural gas usage is expected to significantly increase once the dryers are online.
- Polymer change to emulsion polymer needed for the new dryers
The net impact to DUWA’s contract with Veolia is a reduction of $859,804 for CY2022 versus current contract amounts. The annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) update was incorporated in the fee projections. The costs for January, February, and March were included as “All In Costs” as the dryer facility is not expected to be online until the end of March.
It is desired for this contract amendment to have a retroactive effective date of January 1, 2022 to simplify budget year tracking. Both the Technical and Legal Committees reviewed the contract amendment and recommended it for approval.
Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) asked if there is an amortization schedule for estimated costs for future years as it relates to Veolia’s costs. System Manager Tercala responded that there is not an amortization schedule. Future costs are updated based on changes to the CPI noted in Appendix F of Veolia’s contract. System Manager Tercala and Program Manager Irving track the annual CPI in a spreadsheet. Updates to the CPI are posted on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on the terms for the CPI per Appendix F.
Todd Saums (Van Buren Township) asked if there is concern with PFAS contamination of crops when the biosolids are land applied. System Manager Tercala responded that the biosolids are expected to have a PFAS concentration between 20-30 ppb, which is well below EGLE’s ‘industrially impacted’ concentration of 100-150 ppb.
Motion by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) and supported by Doug Drysdale (Riverview) to authorize the Chair or Vice Chair to execute the 7th Amendment to Veolia’s O&M Contract. A roll call vote was taken, and the motion passed with 88.8% of the vote. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
b. ArcGIS Software Licenses
Veolia maintains DUWA’s GIS database, which was last updated using the SEMCOG grant funding received in 2020. Considering that the database is currently in SEMCOG’s format, it is proposed to transfer the database to ESRI’s ArcGIS Online software as this software will allow Veolia to easily update asset information and track maintenance activities going forward. OHM is familiar with this software and would be available to assist Veolia as needed. It is proposed to purchase three software licenses: one for the Online Creator, one for field staff, and one for the Online Viewer, for a total annual cost of $1,300 (Attachment 7). These licenses were not budgeted for in the Software budget line item, but can be paid as a pass-through cost from the System Manager’s budget, which can accommodate this expense.
Motion by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) and supported by Greg Mayhew (Wyandotte) to approve the purchase of three ESRI ArcGIS Online software licenses for a total annual cost of $1,300. The licenses will be paid as a pass-through cost from DUWA’s System Manager budget line item. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
c. Google Workspace
As DUWA’s System Manager, OHM hosts DUWA’s email account and maintains files related to DUWA. It is proposed to house DUWA’s email account through Google Workspace instead. The Business Standard package of Google Workspace allows for multiple users to store and share project files, with up to 2 TB of cloud storage per user. This package costs $12/user/month (Attachment 8). A 14-day free trial is planned to be conducted in January to assess this platform for DUWA’s needs. It is expected that this platform will benefit the system, and thus authorization for purchase is requested to facilitate a seamless transition from the trial phase to permanent use. For budgeting purposes, it was assumed that up to five users (from legal, technical, financial, etc.) would have access to the account for a total annual cost of $720. The Google Workspace Business Standard package will be paid from DUWA’s Printing and Publishing line item of the budget.
System Manager Tercala added that Veolia already uses Google internally, and this transition would facilitate file sharing.
Motion by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) and supported by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) to authorize the System Manager to set up DUWA’s account on the Google Workspace Business Standard platform for up to 5 users at a fee of $12/user/month. The total annual cost is anticipated to be $720. The account subscription fee will be paid from DUWA’s Printing and Publishing budget line item. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
- Contract Operator Update
Jason Tapp, of Veolia, provided the Contract Operator update
a. November 2021 MOR
The November 2021 Monthly Operating Report (MOR) was provided in the Board’s pre-meeting packet (Attachment 9). Highlights from the summary and other updates included the following:
- November was a dry month with approximately 1.6 billion gallons of flow processed.
- Plant operations were in compliance with no violations.
- Many maintenance activities have been completed, including the following:
- Some processes were taken out of service during periods of low flow to inspect and repair submerged equipment, such as equipment in the secondary clarifiers and primary settling tanks.
- Rehabilitation on the last large pump was completed. This work included removing the 12,000 lb. pump, rebuilding the seals, verifying the electrical readings, and putting the pump back into service. Full pumping capacity was maintained during the rehabilitation with the use of a spare pump.
- Numerous leaks were repaired, and several stem nuts used to control flows were replaced.
- Failures of moving parts are often experienced during cold weather, and these parts were repaired as they surfaced.
- Every gas sensor in the facility has been rehabilitated and recalibrated to ensure they provide accurate readings, especially in wet wells and confined spaces.
- 297 Miss Dig tickets were submitted
- 41 were emergency
- 72 tickets required a site visit
- Communication equipment for the Ayyeka flow meter devices is being installed. There have been issues with cellular transmission from some of the flow meters located under manhole covers, so larger antennas have been ordered for these locations.
- All Veolia employees participated in the mandated monthly safety trainings. These safety trainings include topics such as mindfulness of cold weather and ice as well as confined space entry and electrical safety training. Approximately 800 classes were conducted in 2021.
- All are encouraged to visit the DWTF for a tour, especially the new mayors present at today’s meeting.
Todd Saums (Van Buren Township) asked if the monthly safety training tracking reports could be shared as individual communities may wish to implement a similar program. Mr. Tapp responded that these will be provided.
b. Acquisition of Suez by Veolia
Jason Tapp, of Veolia, announced that on January 19, 2022, Veolia will be acquiring a large share of Suez, the second largest water and wastewater company in the world. Prior to this acquisition, Veolia only had one operation in the state of Michigan (DUWA). After this acquisition, there will be six more wastewater operations in Michigan. It is assumed Suez will maintain their existing management structure including their IT and Human Resources departments, and there will be no impact to Veolia’s staff assigned to DUWA. This acquisition will provide Veolia with more local resources.
- Treasurer’s Report
a. Aging AR
Treasurer Jason Couture presented the Aging Accounts Receivable report (Attachment 10). Treasurer Couture noted that the Aging Accounts Receivable totals approximately $1.2M, of which $1M is current, indicating the timely receipt of most payments. According to the Aging Accounts Receivable report, Wyandotte has an outstanding payment greater than 60 days. Dearborn Heights has several small outstanding payments over 60 days. Upon further investigation, it was determined that Dearborn Heights had used an incorrect rate for a period of time. This issue has been resolved, and Dearborn Heights is now in the process of making these reconciled payments.
b. 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 11). The invoice register included 31 invoices due for a total of $1,724,144.05. Largest invoices included those to Walsh for the biosolids dryer facility project, Aon for insurance premiums, and Wyandotte for utility services.
Motion by Doug Drysdale (Riverview) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to pay the invoice register. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
- Public Comment
There was no public comment.
- Other Business
System Manager Tercala presented the proposed DUWA officer elections (Attachment 12). She noted that the election of Board officers occurs on an annual basis. The existing DUWA Board officers have volunteered to remain in their positions. While no one else has yet expressed interest to hold an officer position, System Manager Tercala reminded the Board of the successful DUWA luncheon held last month to generate interest in DUWA, and noted that two new mayors were present at this Board meeting.
Todd Saums (Van Buren Townhsip) stated that he is a new Board Commissioner, but may be interested in holding an officer position next year. Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) asked if the Chairperson must be an elected official. System Manager Tercala responded that any voting Commissioner can hold the Chair or Vice Chair position, but elected officials are always encouraged to serve in those positions. Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) added that it is important to have elected officials serve on the DUWA Board as it would not be desirable to have the Board be comprised of solely technical members. Technical members serve DUWA as part of the Technical Committee.
Motion by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) and supported by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) to re-elect Dustin Lent (Southgate) as DUWA’s Vice Chair. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
Motion by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) and supported by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) to re-elect Mayor McLeod (Allen Park) as DUWA’s Chair. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
Motion by Dustin Lent (Southgate) and supported by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) to re-elect Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) as DUWA’s Secretary. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
Motion by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) and supported by Dustin Lent (Southgate) to re-elect Jason Couture (Taylor) as DUWA’s Treasurer. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
- Next Board Meeting Date: Thursday, February 10, 2022 (9:00 AM; In-Person)
Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) reminded the Board that the next meeting would take place on Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 9:00 AM in-person at Taylor City Hall.
There being no other business, Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) announced that a motion to adjourn would be in order. Motion by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) and supported by Doug Drysdale (Riverview) to adjourn the meeting. Motion passed unanimously at 9:39 AM.
Meeting Minutes Prepared by:
Mackenzie Johnson, OHM Advisors, Engineer
Meeting Minutes Reviewed by:
Lambrina Tercala, OHM Advisors, DUWA System Manager
- Meeting Agenda
- December 9, 2021 DUWA Board Meeting Minutes
- Monthly Legal Update (by Fausone Bohn)
- System Manager Report for January 2022 Board Meeting (by OHM Advisors)
- Biosolids Dryer Facility Project December 2021 Monthly Progress Summary (by Veolia)
- Veolia Seventh Amendment to Contract
- ArcGIS Software Licenses Quotation
- Google Workspace
- Monthly Operating Report for November 2021 (by Veolia)
- Aged Accounts Receivable Report, dated January 6, 2022 (by Doug Drysdale)
- Invoice Register, dated January 6, 2022 (by Doug Drysdale)
- DUWA Officer Elections (by Lambrina Tercala)