DOWNRIVER UTILITY WASTEWATER AUTHORITY
FEBRUARY 10, 2022 MEETING MINUTES
CITY OF TAYLOR COUNCIL CHAMBERS WITH VIRTUAL OPTION
1. Roll Call and Introductions
DUWA Chair Gail McLeod (Allen Park) called the hybrid meeting to order at 9:02 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, Dearborn Heights, Ecorse, Lincoln Park, 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 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 January 13, 2022 Board Meeting
Copies of the meeting minutes from the January 13, 2022 Board meeting were distributed by email prior to the meeting (Attachment 2). Motion by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) and supported by Greg Mayhew (Wyandotte) 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). Attorney Fausone stated that it has been a typical month of activities. The Fausone Bohn team has been assisting the System Manager with various contract reviews, and has been involved in Technical Committee meeting discussions related to construction project contracts and community flow issues, which will be discussed in more detail later in the meeting.
5. System Manager Update
System Manager Lambrina Tercala, 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 Tercala noted the following highlights from the System Manager Report:
- Board meetings are continuing to be conducted in a hybrid format to allow for remote participation of non-voting members. Any feedback on how to improve the audio or visual experience should be brought forth to System Manager Tercala.
- Phil Argiroff, of EGLE, presented at the last Technical Committee meeting on the upcoming General Permit for Collection Systems. The permit’s intent is for communities to actively perform asset management. The permit is expected to be issued in the summer of 2022. EGLE is looking at funding opportunities to assist communities with collection system efforts.
- A coordination meeting was held with EGLE to review PFAS data from the airport and BASF facility sites, both of which discharge wastewater to the DSDS. The airport also discharges flow to the GLWA wastewater system, and GLWA will soon be publishing their draft local limits which are expected to include a limit of 65 ppt for industrial users.
- The roof repair work is almost complete. Warranty has been provided from the manufacturer. Some punch list items remain. Intertek is assisting with project closeout. A change order from Intertek was approved by the System Manager for additional site visits and project management efforts for final project closeout. This project has a retainage of ~$40k. A notification of assignment of liquidated damages has been submitted. The System Manager is working with the Fausone Bohn team on assignment of liquidated damages.
- The Alkali Sewer Rehabilitation project is complete, and a balancing change order has been received from Inland Waters. This change order will be discussed in more detail later in the meeting.
- Flow metering reports are currently generated on a quarterly and annual basis. In consideration of the alternate rate methodology development efforts, ASI updated the most recent reports with the new 2020 Census data that was recently received.
- Allen Park has concluded their temporary flow metering, and ASI is in the process of reviewing the data.
- The right-of-way permit from Wayne County has been received for work that will be conducted in 2022.
- The fats, oils, and greases (FOG) flyer has been developed and a hard copy was provided to the Board at the meeting. This flyer will be posted to DUWA’s website and will be downloadable so that it can be shared with the communities.
- Dick Hinshon, of OHM Advisors, has been extensively involved in the alternate rate methodology effort and has developed a roadmap that will be discussed in more detail later in the meeting. He will also provide additional information on the Ecorse Base Flow issue.
- Allen Park identified and repaired a large water main break that resulted in a significant amount of water loss (~1 mgd). The water loss data will be shared with the Technical Committee at their next meeting. Allen Park expects to request a change in their CY2020 data, which impacts their 5-year rolling average for future rate making.
- OHM and DUWA’s Finance Team met with US Bank to discuss ways to increase DUWA’s interest rates.
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. There have been supply chain issues with the standard control panels, but the system is still expected to be online in early April. There will be a large increase in the usage of natural gas once the dryers are online, and there has been a significant price increase on natural gas. Initially, natural gas prices were expected to be around $3.85 per dekatherm. While pricing fluctuates daily, most recent costs were near $5.00 per dekatherm (for supply only). A meeting was held with SourceOne, who provides hedge fund transaction services, to see if a natural gas rate could be locked in to stabilize costs over time. SourceOne is preparing a proposal for these efforts.
c. DUWA Year 3 ‘Year in Review’ Report
The Year 3 ‘Year in Review’ report looks back on the accomplishments over the past year and identifies future challenges (Attachment 6). This report has been posted to DUWA’s website.
d. Alternate Rate Method Roadmap
Dick Hinshon, of OHM Advisors, presented the Alternate Rate Methodology roadmap to the Board (Attachment 7). Raftelis has been working hard on the development of the alternate rate methodology. The new rate methodology is expected to take effect in July 2023. The roadmap outlines the steps needed to receive Board approval by the end of 2022 to allow the financial team to develop the rate package for FY2024. The alternate rate methodology and associated calculations have been shared with the communities. These calculations are complex, so a workshop was held with Raftelis and the communities to further review the calculations. Numerous communities requested a follow-up one-on-one meeting to better understand the data sources and computations.
Raftelis is currently performing an update to the calculations using the new 2020 Census data. Raftelis will also use the new winter base flow data set from this past winter, the 2021 meter data from ASI, and the temporary flow metering data from Ecorse and Allen Park to update the rate calculations and impacts to communities. Many communities will see large shifts in costs with the new rate methodology, especially the combined communities, as the old methodology underestimated the combined sewer impact on excess flow. Various options are being considered to mitigate the financial impact to the communities when the new rate methodology takes effect. These options will be reviewed with the communities, and the selected option will be brought to the Board with the updated rate calculations for review before Board approval in November.
Another item to note is that the proposed new rate methodology identified an anomaly in Ecorse’s base flow and excess flow (Attachment 8). Typically, about half of a community’s flow is base flow and the other half is excess flow (inflow and infiltration). Each DUWA community’s flows generally align with the expected 50/50 split, except for Ecorse. Ecorse’s data shows a negative excess flow value in that the base flow volume is higher than Ecorse’s total flow volume. It is possible that there is an error in the data or there may be an area where some excess flow is being discharged to a neighboring community instead of to the flow meter. River Rouge has significant excess flow so there may be a flow exchange occurring between these two communities. Further investigation will be required to understand Ecorse’s flows. This flow anomaly will not largely affect the other communities, but needs to be resolved.
System Manager Tercala stated that a Board motion is not required at this time, but desires for the Board to provide feedback and be in agreement with the presented milestones. Attorney Kerry Morgan (Riverview’s attorney) asked if it is typical to have half of a community’s flow be inflow and infiltration (I/I) as this seems high. Dick Hinshon responded that this flow split is typical and has been quite consistent with larger, older systems for decades. Riverview Attorney Kerry Morgan asked how successful sewer lining is for removing inflow and infiltration. Dick Hinshon responded that a large amount of I/I is from private property such as footing drains, and lining sewers does not eliminate flow from footing drains, manhole defects, or the like. Sewer lining alone would not significantly shift the split between base flow and excess flow.
6. Other Requests for Authorizations and Approvals
System Managers Lambrina Tercala and Mackenzie Johnson, of OHM Advisors, provided the following requests to the Board.
a. Spare Equipment: Electric Motor Soft Starter
Influent Pump Station Pumps 5 and 6 at the DWTF can be controlled either with a soft start (fixed-speed drive) or VFD (variable speed drive). The VFD on Pump 5 failed last year and now runs solely on the soft start. The soft start on Pump 6 failed last year and required a replacement. Veolia desires a soft start spare that could be used for either pump in the event of a future failure to maintain full capacity of these pumps (Attachment 9). The cost for a spare soft start is not expected to exceed its budgeted amount of $40,000 in the Small Capital Budget. This would be paid under DUWA’s Capital Outlay, VFD Pumps budget line item. This request was reviewed by the Technical Committee and was recommended for approval.
Motion by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) and supported by Doug Drysdale (Riverview) to authorize Veolia to purchase a spare soft start for the raw sewage pumps for a cost of no more than $40,000, which will be paid from the Small Capital Budget. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
b. Sewer Use Ordinance Modifications
EGLE conducted an IPP audit in August 2021 and identified two items that needed to be updated in the Sewer Use Ordinance. The first item seeks to remove Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) from the Sewer Use Ordinance as TPH was not identified as a ‘pollutant of concern’ for the treatment plant per the 2019 local limits study. There are also only two industrial users that have the potential to discharge TPH into the Downriver system, and both are limited to standards well below the current local limit. The second item was to increase the Trichloroethylene (TCE) limit from 0.25 mg/L to 0.5 mg/L as this was the value calculated during the 2019 local limits study and approved by EGLE, so this needed to be reflected in the Sewer Use Ordinance. These two modifications were submitted to EGLE for approval, and EGLE has provided approval for the TCE limit adjustment, and approval is pending on the TPH removal.
EGLE also reviewed the IPP Implementation Plan and identified two sections that needed to be modified. Section IMP9 needed to be modified to state that “All Self-Monitoring Reports are due on the 15th day of the month following the reporting period” instead of the 20th day of the month to align with what is stated in another section of the document. Two modifications were needed for Section IMP-04-A1. These included decreasing the total allowable concentration of Total Phosphorous from 12 mg/L to 6 mg/L to align with the Sewer Use Ordinance, and also adding language to indicate that the surchargeable concentrations may be periodically updated depending on Sewer Use Ordinance approved by EGLE and the DUWA Board. These IPP modifications have been submitted to EGLE for approval (Attachment 10). Once EGLE and the DUWA Board approve of these modifications, a joint public notice will be issued for a 30-day public comment period. An example of the public notification was provided to the Board in person. Both the Technical and Legal Committees reviewed these modifications and recommended them for approval.
Motion by Dustin Lent (Southgate) and supported by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) to approve the Sewer Use Ordinance and IPP Implementation Plan modifications and proceed with joint public notice, pending EGLE’s approval. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
c. Inland Waters’ Balancing Change Order
The Alkali Sewer Rehabilitation work was completed several months ago, and the final paperwork is being completed as part of the project closeout. Inland Waters, the construction contractor, provided a balancing change order to reconcile actual project expenses compared to what was issued in their original quote. The balancing change order included two items, both of which are reimbursable to DUWA. The first item is a refund from Wayne County for $9,817.02 for unspent dues related to the Wayne County Department of Public Services permit. The second item is a refund for $374.95 for tree removal and replacement as the actual cost for this task was less than what was authorized. The total amount to be reimbursed to DUWA is $10,191.97 (Attachment 11). HRC, the project’s engineer, reviewed this change order and recommended it for approval. Due to the timing of receipt of this change order, the Technical Committee did not have the opportunity to review it.
System Manager Tercala noted that this is not the final pay application; a final invoice in the amount of approximately $12,200, inclusive of this change order, will be forthcoming.
Motion by Greg Mayhew (Wyandotte) and supported by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) to authorize the Chair or Vice Chair to sign Inland Waters’ Balancing Change Order for a reimbursement to DUWA in the amount of $10,191.97. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
7. Contract Operator Update
Kelly Irving, Veolia’s Program Manager, and Jason Tapp, of Veolia provided the Contract Operator update.
a. December 2021 MOR
The December 2021 Monthly Operating Report (MOR) was provided in the Board’s pre-meeting packet (Attachment 12). Highlights from the summary and other updates included the following:
- December was generally uneventful, but the plant received some higher flows.
- There were no additional blending events in December, so a total of 6 blending events occurred in 2021, which is within the allowable range.
- Low amounts of glycol have been received at the plant due to the mild winter. Glycol use increased a bit during November and December, but has decreased since.
- The effluent PFAS has been hovering around the Water Quality Standard of 11 ug/L. There have been no spikes in PFAS since 2020.
- Many maintenance activities have been completed, including the following:
o Over 175 work orders were documented this month.
o Sleeves for the ultraviolet bulbs were replaced.
o Safety steps were installed in the secondary clarifier.
o A plugged drain on the aerated grit fine screen conveyer was cleaned out to reduce blockages.
o Hydraulic hoses were replaced on the gripper claw in the Tunnel Pump Station.
o The pumps that feed the centrifuges run continuously, and the tubes start to fail around one million rotations. These tubes are being replaced proactively before they fail.
- The number of Miss Dig locate tickets decrease around this time of year, and are tracking around the same number as last year.
- The use of consumables is tracking as expected.
- Flow metering has been challenging, and is taking longer than expected to implement. Ayyeka, the flow metering vendor, will be onsite in February to resolve the remaining issues. There have been some communication improvements with the new antennae on the meters below manhole lids. Issues with the Accusonics flow meters are also being addressed. The additional costs for these flow metering troubleshooting efforts are being paid by Veolia and are not being passed on to DUWA.
- Manhole inspections and coding are complete.
- Veolia is putting together an annual report for the collection system. No major issues have been identified.
b. FOG Pamphlet
Program Manager Irving, of Veolia, stated that Veolia worked with OHM Advisors to prepare a Fats, Oils, and Greases (FOG) informational pamphlet for communities to share with their residents (Attachment 13). She also stated that Veolia is in the process of looking for more videos and examples of the problems caused by flushable wipes at the treatment facility so that these materials can be shared on DUWA’s website.
8. Treasurer’s Report
a. Aging AR
Treasurer Jason Couture presented the Aging Accounts Receivable report (Attachment 14). Treasurer Couture noted that the Aging Accounts Receivable totals approximately $3.6M, of which $3.5M is current, indicating the timely receipt of most payments. Communities’ outstanding payments are current, and all previous aging invoices have been resolved.
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 15). The invoice register included 30 invoices due for a total of $3,673,692.59. Largest invoices included those to Veolia for O&M and unit costs, Walsh for the biosolids dryer facility project, and Wyandotte for utility services. Veolia’s invoices included services for the past two months.
Motion by Dave Flaten (Ecorse) and supported by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) to pay the invoice register. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
9. Public Comment
Rick Rutherford (Belleville) asked if there will still be an overall cost savings with the new dryer facility considering the increased costs of natural gas and sludge hauling. System Manager Tercala responded that cost savings remains even with the increased natural gas costs. Program Manager Irving added that the project’s initial proforma was conservative on the anticipated savings for land filling and land application, and this positively offsets the natural gas cost.
Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) asked if the sludge hauling cost will increase since other costs are increasing. Program Manager Irving responded that sludge hauling costs increase regularly and these cost increases are expected. Land application is not viable year-round so some sludge hauling will still occur after the new dryer facility is online. However, tipping fees should decrease since the sludge will no longer be a wet product. Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) added that it is hopeful that these high natural gas prices will only be temporary.
Attorney Fausone stated that the Board Commissioners and DUWA’s Accountant should be commended for their teamwork in ensuring the local communities’ bills were paid and resolving Accounts Receivable issues as there were no overdue items in the Aging Accounts Receivable report this month.
10. Other Business
There were no items brought forth for consideration as “Other Business” items.
11. Next Board Meeting Date: Thursday, March 10, 2022 (9:00 AM; In-Person)
Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) reminded the Board that the next meeting would take place on Thursday, March 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 Dustin Lent (Southgate) to adjourn the meeting. Motion passed unanimously at 9:50 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. January 13, 2022 DUWA Board Meeting Minutes
3. Monthly Legal Update (by Fausone Bohn)
4. System Manager Report for February 2022 Board Meeting (by OHM Advisors)
5. Biosolids Dryer Facility Project December 2021 Monthly Progress Summary (by Veolia)
6. Year 3 In Review Report (by OHM Advisors)
7. Alternate Rate Methodology Roadmap (by Dick Hinshon, OHM Advisors)
8. Observations on Ecorse’s “Base Flow” and “Excess Flow” (by Dick Hinshon, OHM Advisors)
9. New Electric Motor Soft Start
10. Sewer Use Ordinance and IPP Implementation Plan Modifications
11. Inland Waters’ Balancing Change Order
12. Monthly Operating Report for December 2021 (by Veolia)
13. FOG Pamphlet
14. Aged Accounts Receivable Report, dated February 4, 2022 (by Doug Drysdale)
15. Invoice Register, dated February 4, 2022 (by Doug Drysdale)