Sewer plant needs some repairs



SPECULATOR - Municipal water and sewer service is a wonderful thing, but not without problems.

Wastewater Chief Operator Florence Braunius says Unit 1 at the Speculator Wastewater Treatment Plant has a hole in the wall between the chlorine contact tank and the digester. "It needs to be addressed after this summer," she told the Board of Trustees Aug. 12. "We can't use the digester at full capacity."

Also, Pump Station 2, where a new pump was installed after problems this past spring, is still having problems. "The new pump has issues you would not expect with a new pump," Braunius said. She has contacted Pioneer Pump to look at the panel in case it is an electrical issue.

Braunius said she is waiting to hear about a planning grant she applied for which would pay for the engineering report needed before she can apply for funding to do needed work at the plant.

She gave the board a heads-up. "Once we do apply for funding the agencies like to see an asset management plan," she said. "I have one started but need to know the cash on hand and how much will be left at the end of the budget year."

Mayor Letty Rudes snickered. The water and sewer funds have never been self-supporting. "We've never had money left over that I know of," Braunius added.

"That is coming to an end," Rudes said.

The board raised rates substantially as of February 2012, and raised them a bit more as of Aug. 1 after Village Clerk Bonnie Page reported that billing revenues for fiscal year 2012/13 covered 94 percent of water expenses and 98 percent of sewer expenses.

The board is hoping fiscal year 2013/14 will see the funds finally bringing in enough revenues to cover their expenses. "It looks like it will happen in this fiscal year," Rudes said.


Turning from wastewater to drinking water, the village has received requests from several businesses that unexpectedly high bills be adjusted downward. However, the water meters in question have been checked and are working properly, Braunius said.

The village's policy toward such requests is to make billing adjustments only when a property owner finds and a leak and has it repaired. "When a meter is measuring correctly where it goes from there is the owner's responsibility," Braunius said.

Braunius said the Water Department has about a dozen new meters that will give a read-out by the minute for a 30-day cycle and show an alert if there is a leak.

"Maybe the complaints should be the targeted areas for the new meters," Rudes said. Braunius agreed, but noted the new meters are for three-quarter-inch lines. Some businesses have one-inch water lines.


-- Rudes reported $145,350 has been donated so far toward purchasing the Skarett property to expand the village park on Lake Pleasant.

-- The board approved Dallas Marshall's application to join Speculator Volunteer Fire Department.

-- The board's September meetings will be Sept. 16 (instead of Sept. 9) and Sept. 30 (instead of Sept. 23).