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City council OKs $305,000 sewer plant project

The city of Medford is looking to spend $305,000 to keep non-organic waste out of the sewer plant.

At a special city council meeting Monday night, council members voted unanimously to replace a damaged Huber stepscreen in the headworks building with a Hydodyne center flow band screen.

According to Alex Zenner, plant superintendent, the equipment is the first line of filtration to remove the non-organic waste from the inflow at the plant. He said the current process uses stainless steel screens which slide up and down to separate out the waste. The system is between 24 and 25 years old and is about 20% efficient at capturing the non-organic waste. He said the need for an upgrade was raised recently when rocks got wedged in the system damaging the screens. He said when faced with about a $50,000 repair for the system, and knowing the plant’s long-range goal was to replace the equipment, they looked at other options.

He explained the rocks could have come in from a septic hauler, but it is common to get grit from construction or from broken pipes. Unlike the screen system in place now, the proposed system is a band similar to a belt with holes in it going through the waste stream which is able to remove about 80% of the nonorganic solids.

According to Zenner, they visited a plant using the same sort of equipment in similar circumstances to Medford and that in the past seven years they have not had issues with it.

He said Crane Engineering quoted an amount not to exceed $275,000, Stabb Construction and Pieper Power quoted $30,000 for installation. Money for the project will come from the remaining amount in the 2018 sewer bond and will finish off the bond funds. The bond is being paid off through customer sewer bills.

Zenner said the change will also address other issues. Currently, the nonorganic waste is removed in an area below surface level and is placed in dumpsters which then have to be hauled up to the surface. The new system will be at surface level and the control cabinet will be set up to make future additions easier.

Council members unanimously agreed to the wastewater treatment plant upgrade. Council member Dave Roiger was absent.

The project is expected to have about a 20-week lead time as the equipment is constructed before work can begin on it in Medford.