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City OKs $487K design contract

The Rochester Board of Public Works and Safety on Thursday unanimously approved a contract with Commonwealth Engineers for design of wastewater utility improvement projects.

Commonwealth Engineers’ cost for design and bidding services is $487,700. That figures covers a total of 10 proposed projects for not only the city’s wastewater treatment plant but also its lift stations.

“I know it’s a big number. It is a big project,” said Commonwealth Engineers Project Manager Jeremy Schmitt.

Funding would come through the State Revolving Fund Loan Program, which is administered by the Indiana Finance Authority and provides low-interest loans to municipalities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure improvement projects.

Commonwealth Engineers’ design proposal was based on a recently completed preliminary engineering report and follows a public hearing on July 2, in which the anticipated project scope and associated costs were discussed.

Commonwealth Engineers will provide design, permitting and bidding services for the following projects, with individual cost estimates included:

Replace influent mechanical screen – $204,800

The existing headworks screen will be removed, the channel modified, and a new mechanical screen installed.

Rehabilitate plant wet well – $551,000

The pumps in the wet well for the first stage, second stage trickling filter and bio-tower will be replaced. Variable frequency drives will be installed to improve the efficiency and reliability of this equipment. Improvements will be made to the concrete tank as well, including concrete repair and access improvements. This also is anticipated to include some piping replacements.

Upgrade anaerobic digester – $1,074,000

Both digester tanks will require draining, cleaning, inspection and concrete repair. Improvements to the tanks include new floating covers, internal mixing and gas collection equipment, gas safety equipment, hot water generator, heat exchanger pumps, high level alarm, piping and valves.

Install bio-bag sludge dewatering system – $370,200

A biosolids bagging system for dewatering will be added to the plant within the footprint of the biosolids drying beds. This system will include a shelter to keep rain off the system.

Install UV disinfection system – $408,800

A new UV disinfection system will be installed to replace the existing chlorine disinfection system. The existing chlorine contact tank will be modified to accommodate the UV system.

Install clarifier improvements – $213,500

The telescoping valves for all nine clarifiers will be replaced and added to the SCADA system for automatic control. In addition, trough covers will be added to two clarifiers to eliminate algae growth.

Install WWTP SCADA, new controls and meters – $308,200

Prove a SCADA system at the wastewater treatment plant which will monitor and control equipment throughout the plant. Some of the locations include effluent flow meter, proposed UV system, supernatant flow meter, biosolids bagging system, plant wet well pumps, etc. This work will include providing power and control wiring to these locations as needed.

Install WWTP security cameras – $327,400

Provide security cameras at the wastewater treatment plant and at the collection system lift stations which will feed back to the plant. This will include providing power and cables to these locations.

Install automatic gate openers at the north and south entrances – $27,100

These will be provided to allow 24-hour access to the wastewater treatment plant for septic haulers and landfill deliveries without an operator having to be present. These are intended to be keyless entry units.

Install SCADA and generators at lift stations – $1,117,200

Rochester has 16 lift stations throughout the collection system. This item will include installing SCADA and updating controls for all 16 stations. In addition, permanent generators will be planned for backup power at all the stations.

Planning for the construction of a landfill leachate transmission line is not included in Commonwealth Engineers’ scope of work.

Mayor Ted Denton earlier stated that the city has been negotiating to have County Line Landfill build the line and then dedicate it to the city.

There will be a preliminary and final design phase for the 10 recommended projects.

“At the end of each of those, we would review where we stand with you all,” Schmitt told the board. “At the end of final design, we would be submitting our permits to the state for construction Also, we would be in the process of getting permission from our funding agency to bid.”

The bidding process would occur in February, with closing on the State Revolving Fund Loan Program in March 2021. Discussion about what construction services the city would want Commonwealth Engineering to provide would follow.

Denton suggested bi-weekly construction meetings be held to include representatives of the city and Commonwealth Engineers, as well the selected general contractor and any subcontractors.

Indiana student, school staff member test positive for virus

INDIANAPOLIS — Just days after public schools around the state reopened their doors for the first time since March, at least one student and one school staff member have tested positive for the virus.

In the Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation, 20 miles east of Indianapolis, a student tested positive for the virus on the first day back to class. Superintendent Harold Olin sent an email to parents of students at Greenfield-Central Junior High School Thursday afternoon notifying them that a student at the school had tested positive for the virus.

Olin told The Associated Press the district was notified of the positive test by the Hancock County Health Department and that the student attended school only for part of the day Thursday. The student was tested for the virus days earlier, he said, and it appears the student attended school before receiving the results.

“This really doe not change our plans,” Olin said of reopening schools. “We knew that we would have a positive case at some point in the fall. We simply did not think it would happen on Day One.”

In response, the school district enacted its “Positive COVID-19 Test Protocol,” which included isolating the student in the school clinic. District and school nurses worked to identify other students or staff who may have come in close contact. Classrooms and areas where the student spent time were also given special cleanings.

Close contacts will have to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school, according to the protocol. Any staff or students who test positive for the coronavirus can return to school only after isolating at home for 10 days and allowing at least 72 hours to pass since showing symptoms.

Greenfield-Central Junior High students who were not in close contact with the student who tested positive were able to continue in-person classes Friday.

At Avon High School just west of Indianapolis, a staff member also tested positive. The district was notified about the case Thursday, one day after students returned to classes, said district spokesperson Stacey Forcey-Moore. However, that staff member has not been at the school this week and did not have close contact with anyone else at the school. The district has not said if the staff member is a teacher.

Avon Community Schools, which was the first districts in Indiana to close after a student tested positive for the coronavirus in March, became one of the first to restart in-person fall classes Wednesday. The district saw 85 percent of its nearly 10,000 students return for in-person learning.

Greenfield-Central offered students in-person and online options at the start of the new academic year. Only 15 percent of families, about 600 students, chose to stay home for remote learning.