Report: Rocky River Wastewater Treatment (WWTP) Management Committee Meeting, Feb. 4, 2014

This report, which contains observations and selected highlights, is not an official statement of the League of Women Voters. Official minutes are prepared by WWTP staff.

Present: Jeff Harrington (WWTP Superintendent), Mayor Bobst (Rocky River), Mayor Sutherland (Bay Village), Paul Quinn and Robert Kelly (Westlake), Rob Berner (Fairview Park)

Also in attendance: Keith Bovard and Christine Gottwald (WWTP); David Matty (legal counsel); Michael Thomas (Rocky River director of finance); Bob Greytak (CT Consultants); Bill Kasberg (URS Corporation)

The meeting was called to order 9:08 a.m. in Rocky River Council Chambers and adjourned at 10:02 a.m.

2013 Sewer Flow & Strength Study Followup

In keeping with the WWTP agreement, a 60-day study of sewage flow (volume) and strength (particle concentration) is conducted every four years to determine WWTP cost allocation among the four cities (Bay Village, Fairview Park, Rocky River and Westlake). The spring 2013 study, conducted by URS, was accepted by the four cities in August. In December, Bay Village City Council questioned their allocation increase from 16.36% to 24.80%. Bay Village engaged CT Consultants to review the URS data and methodology. CT Consultants, URS and the four cities' engineers reviewed CT's findings.

Mayor Sutherland stated there have been no changes to the sewer system to account for the size of the increase. There must be something wrong, although CT Consultants are unable to pinpoint what. Discussion ensued about a faulty gauge that is used to correct for rainfall and which pipes needed monitoring. Mr. Kasberg agreed to give CT Consultants all raw data.

The discussion turned to possible methodology improvements for the next study. Mr. Kasberg recommended putting another sampler on Bay Village's 42-inch pipe to verify strength. Mr. Greytak noted that a few days into the study, Bay Village had made a minor change to a sewer. All agreed on the importance of good communication and of suspending changes during the study. 

Technology exists to install permanent flow meters with frequent monitoring. All agreed the cost is prohibitive and these meters address only flow, not strength.

Mayor Sutherland suggested reducing the study frequency from four, to two or three years. Mayor Bobst stated that makes sense, since all four cities have been conducting significant projects to meet U.S. and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements. Mr. Matty noted that a change in frequency would require unanimous approval of all four mayors and city councils.

District One Public Works Integrating Committee (DOPWIC) Update

DOPWIC has awarded over $1.4 million in grants and $1.2 million in a no-interest, 25-year loan for WWTP capital improvements for 2014-2017. An additional $800,000 will come from the WWTP capital fund.

Part of the planned improvements will increase screening of waste to meet more stringent EPA requirements for deposits on farmland versus landfill. Currently, the WWTP sends sludge to a local farm for eight months per year at $17 per wet ton and to a landfill at $45 per wet ton for the other four months.

No Feasible Alternative (NFA) Analysis

Diversion during peak wet weather requires EPA review. Because planned capital improvements would skew the required NFA study, the WWTP is seeking a deferral until the next permit cycle.

Next meeting's agenda: collective bargaining proposal, flow & strength study improvements.

The Rocky River Wastewater Treatment Plant is a joint venture among the cities of Bay Village, Westlake, Rocky River and Fairview Park. The Management Committee includes the mayors of the four cities, plus a fifth person elected by the mayors. It meets as needed.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 9:17 AM, 02.18.2014