Bowling Green's Board of Public Utilities decided Monday to go one step at a time rather than sign on all at once for an estimated $2.1 million pumping upgrade at the city's water treatment plant.
The board approved spending $232,000 to cover engineering and oversight services. Decisions on when to move ahead with the project will likely come later this year.
Director of Public Works Brian O'Connell said the project would not be constructed until 2014 no matter what action the board took Monday. He said that by getting the engineering completed this year the city would be prepared to meet a March 1, 2014 deadline to apply for and Ohio EPA/Ohio Water Development Authority loan to fund the project. If approved, that money would not be available until July 2014.
Board members John Quinn and Joyce Kepke had concerns about moving forward now with all phases of the project. Quinn asked if breaking the phases up would cause a problem and O'Connell said it would not.
"It bothers me that we would not later see (that we were) going out to bids. I lose track of what's happening," Kepke said. She proposed limiting Monday's action to the engineering, which the board approved on a voice vote. John Mekus was absent.
The project would provide a separate reservoir pump station for the integrated membrane treatment system portion of the plant. The existing reservoir pumping system would then be dedicated to the conventional side of the plant. The IMS operation was completed in early 2012 to help improve overall water quality. Water from both systems is combined before it is pumped from the plant.
O'Connell said the separate system was discussed several years ago when the IMS was being developed but dropped because of cost. The existing system contains two pumps, which must operate to maintain demand during peak summer demand. However, the effectiveness of the pumps is reduced because no zebra mussel chemical control can be used because the chemical can damage the IMS equipment. The IMS portion of the plant also has outages during the day because of backwash procedures, which reduces reservoir flows to the conventional operation.
O'Connell said a separate pumping system will allow zebra mussel control (different chemicals are used for each plant operation), reliable supply and also provide a backup should one of the existing pumps need maintenance.
The project must be approved by city council.
The board also:
• Asked city council to approve an amendment to the EcoSmart Choice green pricing program that would allow the city to apply for a sustainability grant should the program revenues exceed expenses by $5,000 in a year.
• Heard the EPA has approved engineering plans for a new $1.5 million gallon water tower on the north end of the city. However, the city is having trouble coming up with a site that will satisfy the Federal Aviation Administration due to the location of Wood County Regional Airport.
• Learned Quinn had been granted honorary membership in the Ohio Municipal Electric Association.
• Learned AMP-Ohio has agreed to join the city in helping fund the BGSU Motor Sports program. The group plans to participate in a vehicle event March 8-10 at Woodland Mall.
• Canceled its March 11 meeting. The next scheduled meeting is March 25.