HISID sludge removal to take district back to 'square one'

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- Holiday Island's rental of a belt press to process its wastewater sludge could possibly cost more than twice the price tag as last year, but it should bring the district back to "square one," the Board of Commissioners learned Monday.

At the board's regular meeting, Water/Wastewater Superintendent Dan Schrader told the board he has reserved a belt press for two months from a different company than used last year, when the district rented a belt press for one month.

"This is a 1-meter belt press. The last one was smaller and we had some problems with it," he told the board. "This machine puts out 80 to 90 gallons per minute. Last year, the belt press put out 30 to 40 gallons per minute."

The larger machine was the only one available this time, Schrader said.

The estimate for a full two months of use of the larger machine, which will require a crane to lift it onto skids rather than being trucked in on a flatbed trailer as it was last time, totals $28,813. A breakdown shows two months' rent of $14,000, delivery charge of $4,928 to bring and return it, crane charge of $1,500 for delivery and return, polymer cost of $2,000, four loads of sludge disposal at $1,950 and sludge hauling at $1,600. If an onsite technician is needed, that cost is $2,835 for a 9-hour day, with a higher hourly charge if more than 9 hours are needed.

The department budget shows $35,000 allocated to the project: $15,000 toward purchased services and $20,000 toward plant repair.

Schrader said it is the plan to bring the sludge treatment back to "square one," meaning to completely process everything in the plant's three basins. He said 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of sludge per day come into the plant. The first two basins are completely full, and the third is "filling up."

"We're six feet from the top," he said.

He estimated it should take between 10 hours a day for a total of about 80 and 90 hours of operation to process it all.

Asked then why the press is being rented for two months, Schrader said the sludge will have to be watered down because it has become compacted sitting so long, and it has to be a certain consistency to process it.

He also said the use of the belt press is pro-rated by time used.

"If it only takes two weeks, that's all we'll pay," he said.

The board has yet to make a decision for the long-term about whether to construct a building and purchase its own belt press or continue to rent one as needed.

Chairman Ken Ames said more data is needed to determine that. He asked for records of gallons of sludge that have been produced since the last time it was processed and "when we are going to be in this situation again."

The board voted to award a contract to Matchpoint Inc. to do leak detection of the district's water system, which is still at greater than 80 percent of finished water. Proposals were received from five companies. Schrader explained that Matchpoint was not the low bidder, but upon checking the low bidder, Utiliuse, he said, "There is some hesitation about whether they would be good for us."

Matchpoint bid $6,700 for 20 miles of waterline, $12,800 for 40 miles and $20,562 for the full 69 miles, but the project will start small, at 20 miles, Schrader said. The company will use its own equipment and will first listen for leaks on 10 miles of waterline on the island proper and will evaluate it on a weekly basis. Then if the project is working out, they can keep going.

Commissioner Bruce Larson said the six-year water master plan was updated in 2010, during which a leak study was done for $10,000. That study noted that telemetering indicated "a lot of leakage in the area served by the fire tower tank, and we ought to move on to that location."

He said the study also indicated the district should look at "cross-country lines."

He said because the island is highly developed and there are more people, people tend to observe more leaks, but in long stretches of uninhabited areas where people "are driving down the road at 35 miles per hour, who's ever going to even see the leaks?"

Based on his experience as a general manager for a utility that had electricity and natural gas distribution, Larson said leak problems in gas pipes increased "exponentially" when they increased the pressure.

He said the pressure up near the Clubhouse is about 50 psi, but down near Well #5, "it's got to be over 200 psi," and Wild Turkey Drive probably has very high pressure.

"I'm wondering whether we might get more bang for the buck if we went to the areas that the telemetering is indicating we're getting a lot of losses and maybe focus on areas with extraordinarily high pressures."

He suggested consulting with Matchpoint on which 20 miles to focus the testing on.

Schrader said the island is showing 80 percent loss and that contractors replacing buried electric lines on the island have reported finding chlorinated water leaks as they are digging up their lines.

Ames gave a status update on whether district-owned quit-claimed and foreclosed lots should be tax exempt. He said he had met with county Assessor Jo Ann Harris, who is favorable to seeking an Attorney General's opinion on the issue. Harris has maintained that the district does owe such taxes, but the district contends it does not. Harris told Ames she would get back to him.

In other business, the board:

* Approved a bid for its 2013 road paving program with Hutchens Construction of Cassville, Mo., for $55,798.82, the low bidder. One other bid was received, from Heavy Constructors of Arkansas of Berryville, for $65,276.61.

* Heard Fire Chief Jack Deaton report the weekend golf tournament and auction fund-raiser for the fire department netted around $20,000, money which will be used to replace rescue equipment, at no cost to the district.

* Retired to executive session to conduct interviews for the district manager position. The board had interviews scheduled with three candidates throughout the day. It returned from session near closing time and took no action.

The district's next regular meetings are scheduled for July 15 and, if needed, July 22.

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