DOWNRIVER UTILITY WASTEWATER AUTHORITY
MARCH 9, 2023 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 9:00 AM and asked for roll call to be taken. At the time of roll call, voting representatives were in attendance from 11 communities: Allen Park, Belleville, Brownstown Township, Dearborn Heights, Lincoln Park, River Rouge, 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 Mayor Joseph Kuspa (Southgate) and supported by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) to approve the Agenda. The motion passed unanimously by all attending members.
3. APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM FEBRUARY 9, 2023 BOARD MEETING
Copies of the meeting minutes from the February 9, 2023 Board meeting were distributed by email prior to the meeting (Attachment 2). Motion by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) and supported by Mayor Tim Woolley (Taylor) 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 Fausone Bohn has assisted the System Manager with the biosolids project and has participated in virtual meetings related to the LaSalle contract and the BASF permit request. Attorney Fausone provided additional detail related to the question that was brought up at the last meeting regarding the dental offices. He added that Fausone Bohn sent out letters on behalf of DUWA to the dental offices requesting information on their discharge to DUWA’s system in supporting of annual filing required by EGLE. Two dental offices have responded thus far, two offices have closed, and eight offices have not provided a response. Veolia is working with these eight remaining dental offices to obtain the requested information. Attorney Fausone also stated that Fausone Bohn plans to have further discussions with the Board Officers on how to proceed with negotiations with Wayne County on the timing of payment of the $3.5M bond.
b. UV Project Funding Request Resolution
Attorney Fausone (Fausone Bohn) presented the resolution for requesting funds for the UV project through Congressionally Directed Spending via Senator Gary Peters’ office (Attachment 4). This resolution must be provided with the funding application that is due on March 15th. If the UV project is awarded funding, the funding would be applied in FY2024, but it is not yet known when the selected projects will be announced. The resolution contains similar language to the ARPA resolution of support outlining the needs of the communities, the project cost, and resolves that the Board supports the request for funding.
Mayor Joseph Kuspa (Southgate) asked if this funding request will conflict with other funding requests already submitted, such as the ARPA request. Attorney Fausone responded that this request will not conflict with other requests because of the differences in timing of award of the requested funding. It is expected that award of ARPA funding would be announced in FY2023, award of EGLE SRF funding will be announced in late FY2023, and award of Congressionally Directed Spending would be announced in FY2024. Mayor Joseph Kuspa (Southgate) suggested that DUWA apply for Congressionally Directed Spending through Senator Debbie Stabenow’s office as well when that portal opens.
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 5).
a. System Manager Monthly Report
System Manager Tercala noted the following highlights from the System Manager Report:
- The dryer system is continuously online, however there is less throughput through the dryers than the contract requires. Additionally, more natural gas is being used by the dryers than anticipated. Further detail will be provided later in the meeting.
- There has been a lot of activity with the UV project as Black & Veatch is working on preparing the Project Plan for the SRF funding application through EGLE. This Project Plan requires that a public hearing be held and a resolution approving the Project Plan be adopted. A meeting will be held with EGLE in the next few weeks to discuss the need for funding of the project.
- SEMCOG will be facilitating a Strategic Planning Workshop in April. The workshop is expected to take place immediately after the April Board meeting. The draft agenda is provided in the pre-meeting packet (Attachment 6). Board Commissioners are encouraged to provide input on the agenda to make the workshop most valuable.
- A key stakeholder meeting was held with BASF earlier this week to discuss the request for a special discharge permit. BASF has a consent order with the EPA and plans to set up a groundwater extraction system that would be used to treat groundwater and discharge it to DUWA’s system. The requested special permit would be for a discharge of 25 gpm. A future, more robust, process would discharge a flow of up to 100 gpm. Approval of this special permit does not set a precedence for special permits, nor approves the future discharge of 100 gpm. The System Manager is working with Fausone Bohn and Veolia to develop the provisions and permit language for review and approval by BASF.
- The System Manager will work with Fausone Bohn on coordination with Wayne County regarding the payment timing of the remaining $3.5M bond payment.
- Board Commissioners are encouraged to continue to contact their elected officials to generate support for DUWA’s need of funding for the UV project.
- The System Manager authorized the 2-year renewal of DUWA’s website domain name through GoDaddy for a fee of $41.98. This fee was budgeted for and was paid by DUWA’s Accountant.Mayor Joseph Kuspa (Southgate) asked the System Manager to provide him with the date of when the ARPA request was made to Wayne County as well as the official name of the UV project. System Manager Tercala confirmed that this would be provided. Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) added that she has been contacting County Commissioners, State Representatives, State Senators, and federal level contacts to inform them of DUWA’s need for funding for this project. She offered to share her email correspondences and project information with the other Board Commissioners as an example of what to send.James Krizan (Lincoln Park) asked if there might be a benefit to using a different room than the Council Chambers for the Strategic Planning Workshop and asked if materials will be provided ahead of the workshop. System Manager Tercala responded that the Council Chambers would be easiest as no one would have to move to another location after the Board meeting, but alternative workshop locations will be considered. She added that a survey and pre-meeting materials will be sent out ahead of the workshop.
b. Biosolids Dryer Facility Project
Jason Nash provided an update on the Biosolids Dryer Facility project to the Board (Attachment 7). Both dryers are in continuous operation. There have been some issues with clogging that may be due to the dryness of the material. The PACl chemical trial is ongoing. It is difficult to do a complete evaluation of the efficacy of PACl due to the low flows experienced at the DWTF. The optimal PACl dosing rate will likely not be determined until early summer when better readings are obtained. There have been no reheating issues since the switch to an aluminum-based product for phosphorous removal.
There have been issues with the cake bin and cake pumps pumping material into the dryers. Material was getting stuck in the screws and thus not being pumped to the dryers. The live bottom screws were installed on February 28th. These screws are larger and allow the material to fall into the cake bin rather than bridging such that there is improved pumpability into the dryers. The dosing pumps on top of the dryers have not been performing at their design capacities. This issue is currently being worked through. The final design of the cake bin is also still pending. The dryers are currently operating at about 50% capacity, and the throughput of the dryers will be increased slowly at 5% increments to allow for operational settings to be adjusted as needed.
MIOSHA visited the DWTF last week due to a complaint from an employee regarding the dust in the Solids Handling Building. MIOSHA performed an inspection and indicated that there appeared to be no issue. MIOSHA will return to the site in a few weeks to perform another inspection, and will issue their final determination after that inspection.
Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) asked if the live bottom screws will increase the capacity of the dryers. Jason Nash (Veolia CPM) responded that the live bottom screws will increase the throughput through the dryers to get closer to the dryers’ design capacity, but the screws will not increase the design capacity beyond what the RFP required. Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) asked at what capacity the dryers are currently operating. Jason Nash (Veolia CPM) responded that the North dryer is currently operating at about 75% of its design capacity, and the South dryer is currently operating at about 70% of its design capacity. Throughput of the dryers will be increased slowly at 5% increments to eventually get dryer operation up to 100% design capacity.
i. Recommendation of Release of Payment to Walsh
Jason Nash (Veolia CPM) stated that there are three outstanding pay applications for Walsh’s work totaling about $250k (Attachments 8-10). These pay applications relate to physical installation of the dryer equipment. This work is complete and this equipment has provided beneficial reuse to the system. It should be noted that Walsh is paid under a separate contract from Kruger. Kruger is the equipment manufacturer and Walsh is the design-build entity that performed the installation of the provided equipment and relocated the centrifuges. Veolia CPM recommends payment to Walsh for their completed work under these pay applications. With payment of these pay applications, there is still $819k remaining in Walsh’s retainage for outstanding issues or damages due to project delays.
Motion by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) and supported by Mayor Joseph Kuspa (Southgate) to approve payment of Walsh’s pay applications 26, 27, and 28. The motion passed unanimously by all attending members.
6. OTHER REQUESTS FOR AUTHORIZATIONS AND APPROVALS
System Manager Mackenzie Johnson, of OHM Advisors, presented the following requests to the Board:
a. Veolia Unit Cost Reconciliation Amendment Extension
Veolia performs monthly reconciliations of quantities of consumables under their current contract. DUWA is responsible for commodity costs above contract assumptions for unit rates. Veolia’s Amendment 7 went into effect January 1, 2022, and this Amendment reconciled commodity unit rates and sludge limits for 2022. An extension to Amendment 7 is now necessary to reconcile the commodity unit rates and sludge limits for 2023. This extension also demonstrates that the MOU regarding the Test Period for Alternative Chemicals remains in effect for the PACl trial period. Veolia will continue to waive their 10% markup to expenses above contract assumptions through 2023. It is proposed that this contract Amendment Extension be effective January 1, 2023 to simplify budget year tracking. The Amendment 7 Extension (Attachment 11) was circulated through the Technical and Legal Committees for review and comment.
Motion by Mayor Joseph Kuspa (Southgate) and supported by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) to authorize the Chair or Vice Chair to execute the Extension to Amendment 7 of Veolia’s O&M contract. A roll call vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously with 92.9% of the vote (affirmative vote by all attending members).
b. Goddard Interceptor Investigation by Doetsch
During routine flow meter maintenance and calibration, a 4-inch diameter ‘drop’ was discovered in the bottom of the Goddard Interceptor at the gate chamber located on the southwest corner of the Goddard and Allen intersection in Taylor. HRC prepared a Flow Diversion Plan that would allow for a physical inspection of the chamber to further understand what repair may be necessary. The proposed Flow Diversion Plan involves installing a sewer balloon in the manhole upstream of the chamber to temporarily stop the flow to allow for a crew to inspect the ‘drop’ and take pictures and measurements.
DUWA received quotes from two contractors to execute the Flow Diversion Plan and perform the visual inspection. After review of the quotes, Doetsch Environmental was the low-bidder and was recommended by the Technical Committee to perform the work for a not-to-exceed fee of $15,000. This fee allows for up to a two-day mobilization and includes contingency for potential repairs needed to the sewer balloon equipment following the inspection (Attachment 12).
Motion by Mayor Joseph Kuspa (Southgate) and supported by Greg Mayhew (Wyandotte) to authorize Doetsch Environmental to execute the proposed Flow Diversion Plan and perform a visual inspection of the ‘drop’ for a not-to-exceed fee of $15,000. This cost will be paid from DUWA’s Small Capital Outlay budget line item. A roll call vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously with 92.9% of the vote (affirmative vote by all attending members).
c. UV Project Public Hearing Notice
DUWA plans to apply for EGLE’s SRF funding for the UV Disinfection Replacement Project. In order to apply, an SRF Project Plan must be completed and submitted to EGLE by May 1, 2023. Black & Veatch is currently working on this effort. It is also required that a public hearing be held to inform the local public of the project and to gather feedback. It is proposed to hold the public hearing at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 13th as a part of the April Board meeting (Attachment 13). Following the public hearing, a Resolution to adopt the SRF Project Plan will be presented to the Board for approval. The public hearing summary and adopted Resolution will then be included with the SRF Project Plan submittal to EGLE.
Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) asked if the cost to prepare the SRF Project Plan was included in Black & Veatch’s authorized fee. System Manager Johnson confirmed that the cost to prepare the SRF Project Plan was included in the total fee that was authorized for Black & Veatch. The authorized fee for this task was $35k.
Motion by Mayor Tim Woolley (Taylor) and supported by James Krizan (Lincoln Park) to schedule a public hearing at 9:00 a.m. EST on Thursday, April 13, 2023 at the City of Taylor Council Chambers for the UV Disinfection Replacement Project per EGLE’s SRF requirements. A roll call vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously with 92.9% of the vote (affirmative vote by all attending members).
d. Plante Moran Single Audit
Plante Moran, DUWA’s Financial Advisor, performs an audit of DUWA’s financial statements each year. Per Plante Moran’s authorized contract from August 2021, Plante Moran will perform the audit of DUWA’s 2022 financial statements for a fee of $22,400. Additionally, DUWA is required to complete a single audit for funds received through the WIFIA program. The effort to complete the single audit was not included in Plante Moran’s contract for the 2022 audit period, so Plante Moran proposes to perform the single audit for a not-to-exceed fee of $15,000 (Attachment 14).
Motion by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) and supported by Mayor Joseph Kuspa (Southgate) to authorize Plante Moran to perform the single audit for a not-to-exceed fee of $15,000 in accordance with WIFIA requirements. The 2022 financial statement audit and single audit efforts will be paid from DUWA’s Financial Services line item of the budget. A roll call vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously with 92.9% of the vote (affirmative vote by all attending members).
e. SAN Warranty Renewal
Eramosa was DUWA’s SCADA integrator that assisted with the SCADA split from the existing Wayne County system. Eramosa advises that DUWA maintain a warranty for the new system’s Storage Area Network (SAN). A SAN warranty commenced in early 2022 and was provided by Insight. The SAN is a virtual hard drive that is a critical component to the SCADA system. The SAN has built in redundancy because of the unit’s criticality. While redundancy is available, it is best practice to maintain a manufacturer’s warranty, should issues arise. The current warranty is up for renewal. A 1-year warranty extension costs $2,510.59, and there is little cost savings to advise on an extended warranty beyond a 1-year period (Attachment 15).
Mayor Joseph Kuspa (Southgate) asked if there is a cost savings for a longer term renewal. System Manager Johnson responded that there is no cost savings for a longer term renewal. Mayor Joseph Kuspa (Southgate) suggested that other vendors be explored considering that costs will likely continue to increase due to inflation. Mayor Tim Woolley (Taylor) added that if this company is providing good service, then it would be worth staying with them, but agreed with the suggestion of exploring other vendors for potential cost savings.
Motion by Rick Rutherford (Belleville) and supported by Roxie Fairchild (Brownstown Township) to extend the existing Storage Area Network warranty, as provided by Insight, by 1-year for a cost of $2,510.59. The motion passed unanimously by all attending members.
f. Autopayment of Utility Invoices
The due dates on DUWA’s electric and natural gas monthly invoices typically precede the date of the next Board meeting such that these invoices are then paid after their due dates and late fees can be incurred. It is desired to set up autopayment of these invoices so that they are paid on time so DUWA can avoid incurring late fees. Typical monthly electric invoices range between $200k-$300k. It is proposed that monthly electric invoices that do not exceed $315k be eligible for autopayment. Typical monthly natural gas invoices range between $30k-$90k. It is proposed that monthly natural gas invoices that do not exceed $90k be eligible for autopayment. Monthly, routine fees beyond these limits would be brought to the Board for review and approval before payment (Attachment 16).
Mayor Joseph Kuspa (Southgate) asked if DUWA has tried to negotiate the payment terms with these utilities. DUWA’s Accountant Doug Drysdale (DNS Financial Services; Southgate) responded that the utilities will not adjust their payment terms, but noted that Wyandotte Municipal Services has agreed to not charge DUWA a late fee. The amount thresholds included in this request are worst case estimates. If an invoice amount exceeds these thresholds, late fees would likely be applied as Board approval for payment would likely not be obtained in time. James Krizan (Lincoln Park) asked how much DUWA incurs in late fees. DUWA’s Accountant Doug Drysdale responded that late fees are typically a few dollars per month depending on the utility. James Krizan (Lincoln Park) added that negotiation of payment terms with utilities has been a struggle for Lincoln Park as well.
Motion by Kevin Lawrence (Van Buren Township) and supported by Greg Mayhew (Wyandotte) to authorize DNS Financial Services to set up autopayment of the monthly electric and natural gas utility invoices. These invoices will be paid from DUWA’s Utilities line item of the budget. Electric invoices exceeding $315k and natural gas invoices exceeding $90k will be brought to the Board for review and approval before payment. The motion passed unanimously by all attending members.
7. CONTRACT OPERATOR UPDATE
Travis Tuma, of Veolia, provided the Contract Operator update.
a. January 2023 MOR
The January 2023 Monthly Operating Report (MOR) was provided in the Board’s pre-meeting packet (Attachment 17). Highlights from the summary and other updates included the following:
- Plant operations remain in compliance.
- An average flow of about 50 MGD and a peak flow of about 100 MGD were recorded for the month of January. February flows are expected to be higher.
- The DWTF received about 10,000 lb/day of glycol from the airport in January. Veolia O&M is limiting the glycol discharge from the airport due to the currently limited sludge production.
- The PACl trial is ongoing. A small amount of ferric is being dosed for odor control. Veolia O&M plans to start decreasing the dosage of ferric to increase cost savings.
- MIOSHA visited the DWTF due to an employee complaint regarding dust in the biosolids room. This employee did not bring this concern to the attention of Veolia leadership before reporting it to MIOSHA. MIOSHA did not note anything of concern, but will come back at the end of the month to perform an air quality study/dust hazard analysis. Veolia also provided MIOSHA with documentation on trainings and personal protective equipment as requested.
- There are currently two open operator positions.
- The air dryer system for the bubbler and transducer systems at the Tunnel Pump Station was repaired.
- The grease lines on centrifuge 3 were purged. This centrifuge had a few issues as the bearing had premature failure, which caused it to heat up. Veolia O&M is working with the manufacturer, Alfa Laval, on these issues.
- The floor drains have been cleaned of construction debris which was causing water to pond in the basement.
- About 25 exterior lights were upgraded to LEDs.
- Routine maintenance throughout the collection system is ongoing.
- 21 employees received Powered Industrial Truck (forklift) certification.
- There were 165 Miss Dig tickets, 25 of which were emergency. The number of Miss Dig tickets is expected to increase in the spring.
- The February cost for sludge disposal is expected to be significantly less as much of the sludge was hauled to LaSalle instead of the landfill. The dryers are currently running at 50-70% capacity. The sludge that is processed through the dryers is hauled to LaSalle, and the sludge that bypasses the dryers goes to a landfill.
b. Chemical & Sludge Price Updates
Travis Tuma presented the summary of commodity unit price changes to the Board (Attachment 18). The unit price for ferric chloride has increased 82% over the past year. PACl has a higher unit price than ferric chloride, but is only dosed at one-fourth of the dosing rate of ferric chloride when ferric chloride was used as the primary chemical for phosphorous removal.
c. Biosolids Disposal Outlets
Travis Tuma stated that Veolia signed a contract with Rumpke, another landfill for biosolids disposal in southern Ohio. This landfill will accept as much tonnage of biosolids that DUWA can provide. The 30% dry biosolids that bypass the dryers will be sent to this landfill. This landfill is about $15 per ton (all-in) cheaper than the previous landfill that was used, and about 25-30 tons of biosolids per week are sent to this landfill.
Ali Dib (Dearborn Heights) asked what the moisture content is of the sludge. Travis Tuma responded that the biosolids are 30% dry if they are processed through the centrifuges and bypass the dryers, and are 90-95% dry if they are also processed through the dryers. Only the 30% dried solids are sent to the landfill. Veolia locked in an agreement with LaSalle who will accept the 90-95% dried biosolids for $36.50/ton, which includes both hauling and disposal. Attorney Jim Fausone (Fausone Bohn) asked what the all-in cost for Rumpke is in comparison to the cost for LaSalle. Travis Tuma responded that Rumpke charges about $38.75/ton for disposal and charges another fee for hauling. For comparison, Waste Management was charging about $126/ton for both hauling and disposal. The Rumpke landfill is about the same distance from the DWTF as the previously used landfill.
8. TREASURER’S REPORT
a. Aging AR
Treasurer Jason Couture (Taylor) presented the Aging Accounts Receivable report (Attachment 19). Treasurer Couture stated that the total amount in the Accounts Receivable is approximately $4.7M and about 97% of that amount is within 60 days. The amount in the Accounts Receivable is higher than normal because the SRF bond invoices were recently sent to the communities for payment, and the payments received are not reflected in this report. River Rouge and Allen Park have outstanding payments over 60 days. River Rouge provided payment this week, but this is not reflected on this report. Allen Park’s outstanding payment will be reconciled with their overpayment credit.
b. Pending Invoices
Treasurer Jason Couture (Taylor) presented the invoice register for a request for payment. The invoice register was provided in the pre-meeting packet (Attachment 20). The invoice register included 52 invoices due for a total of $10,021,792.89. Largest invoices included those to Veolia for two months’ worth of O&M and unit cost reconciliations as well as for the purchase of the tow bros, and US Bank for SRF, WIFIA, and senior lien bond payments.
Motion by Roberto Scappaticci (Romulus) and supported by Mayor Joseph Kuspa (Southgate) to pay the invoice register. The motion passed unanimously with all attending members.
9. PUBLIC COMMENT
There was no public comment.
10. OTHER BUSINESS
There were no items brought forth for consideration as “Other Business” items.
11. NEXT BOARD MEETING DATE: THURSDAY, APRIL 13, 2023 (9:00AM; IN-PERSON)
Chairperson McLeod (Allen Park) reminded the Board that the next meeting would take place on Thursday, April 13, 2023 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 James Krizan (Lincoln Park) to adjourn the meeting. Motion passed unanimously at 10:00 AM.
Meeting Minutes Prepared by:
Mackenzie Johnson, OHM Advisors, Engineer
Meeting Minutes Reviewed by:
Lambrina Tercala, OHM Advisors, DUWA System Manager
- Meeting Agenda
- February 9, 2023 DUWA Board Meeting Minutes
- Monthly Legal Update (by Fausone Bohn)
- Resolution Regarding Congressionally Directed Funding Request (by Fausone Bohn)
- System Manager Report for March 2023 (by OHM Advisors)
- Strategic Planning Workshop Agenda (by SEMCOG)
- Biosolids Dryer Facility Project February 2023 Monthly Progress Summary (by Veolia)
- Walsh Pay Application 26 (by Veolia CPM)
- Walsh Pay Application 27 (by Veolia CPM)
- Walsh Pay Application 28 (by Veolia CPM)
- Extension to Seventh Amendment to Veolia O&M Agreement (by Veolia)
- Doetsch Environmental Budgetary Estimate for Goddard Interceptor Investigation
- Public Hearing Notice for FY2024 CWSRF UV Project
- Plante Moran Scope of Services for Audit and Single Audit Efforts (by Plante Moran)
- Request for 1-year SCADA System SAN Warranty Extension
- Request to Autopay Utility Invoices
- Monthly Operating Report for January 2023 (by Veolia)
- DWTF Unit Price Changes Summary (by Veolia)
- Aged Accounts Receivable Report, dated March 3, 2023 (by Doug Drysdale)
- Invoice Register, dated March 3, 2023 (by Doug Drysdale)