Fort wastewater plant blower contract OK’d

Daily Union


The Fort Atkinson City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a $108,598 contract with L.W. Allen Inc. of Madison for the replacement of aeration blower control panels and associated software at the Wastewater Utility.

A total of $236,000 originally was included in the 2014 budget for installation and purchase of a new aeration blower for the activated sludge system at the treatment plant. However, the project was unable to be completed and was carried over to 2015.

The council authorized purchase of the blower in March of this year.

Purchase of the aeration blower is a continuation of ongoing efforts to make the plant more efficient. Wastewater Utility superintendent Paul Christensen told the council during its regular meeting that the blower selection process took into account energy efficiency and also a wider range of operations.

To ensure the efficiency of the blower, a new control scheme was needed. Currently, there are two control panels that work together to provide the required air to the aeration system.

Both panels are more than 20 years old, as is the plant’s Supervisor Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. Despite updates through the years, the SCADA system currently is operating on a computer that still runs the outdated Windows XP operating system.

Christensen noted that the SCADA system is scheduled in the capital improvement plan to be replaced in 2017 at a cost of $95,000.

During the design phase, it was determined the current SCADA system is not compatible with the new programmable logic controllers.

He said the controllers could be updated, but would need to be replaced again when the SCADA system was replaced in 2017.

The wastewater superintendent was seeking approval to update the SCADA system and replace the controllers.

To date, project expenses have included the blower at $100,600, engineering totaling $26,595 and a total of approximately $60,000 for installation. Combined with a Focus on Energy rebate of $18,400, a total of $67,000 was left for the controls.

Christensen sought authorization to expend up to $50,000 from the utility’s equipment replacement fund to complete the replacement of the controls and software now, rather than wait until 2017.

The council unanimously approved the request.

Also Tuesday, the council approved a $4,000 contract with Miller Engineers Scientists of Sheboygan to complete an assessment of wetland delineation of lagoons the city is acquiring from Pinnacle Foods, formerly the Larsen canning company.

In April, the council had accepted a donation of the lagoons property by Pinnacle to address stormwater issues.

In the past, the city had discussions with Larsen Foods concerning possible use of the lagoons to address storm­water issues and permit requirements.

Negotiations were put on hold and stormwater requirements were being changed, and closure of the pond remained undetermined per the state Department of Natural Resources. Talks resumed with Pinncale Foods once the stormwater requirements were set by the state.

Currently, the city has an application for a DNR construction grant to retrofit the pond. Part of the requirements for the grant is ownership or commitment to own on the property.

In addition, as part of the application, the DNR wetland map was used to determine if there would be any impacts to wetlands. The study needs to be completed in order for the city to complete the grant application process.

The study should be completed within about a month. The DNR is slated to award the grant funding in August.

In other business the council:

• Authorized blocking parking stalls for the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce brat stand during Christmas in July on July 24-25.

• Moved through its second reading of a proposal to repeal the City of Fort Atkinson’s fee schedule ordinance and update it to a resolution process.

• Advanced through its second reading an ordinance to address chronic nuisance sites that frequently are visited by Fort Atkinson police officers.

As proposed, a chronic nuisance property refers to any parcel, land or structure, regardless of zoning, which has generated three or more documented complaints or circumstances requiring police services for nuisance activities on separate days during one month, or six calls during 12 months.

Under the ordinance, violators will be assessed the cost of enforcement and abatement, including administrative costs in full or in part.

• Advanced through its second reading a proposed amended concealed weapons ordinance. Changes being recommended by Fort Atkinson Police Chief Adrian Bump would bring the city into compliance with state law.

As proposed, the new ordinance would include the following persons being allowed to go armed with a concealed weapon: police officers, persons holding a valid state concealed carry license and those holding a valid out-of-state concealed carry license.

Under the existing ordinance, no person, except a police officer, is permitted to go armed with a concealed and dangerous weapon within the city.

Meanwhile, the council was educated on comprehensive planning, community visioning and placemaking during a special session prior to its regular meeting.

Steve Grabow, professor and community development educator of University of Wisconsin-Extension in Jefferson County, led the 5:30 p.m. session, a story on which will appear later this week.

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