1. Call to Order.
Directors Amoroso, Comstock, Siedman and Smith present; director Siedman presiding. Director Siedman noted that director Godino is attending the meeting by telephone.
3. Replacement of the Sewer Pumps at the Wharf Road Lift Station: Lift Station Pump Evaluation Report by West Yost Associates.
Staff introduced Scott Heald, a senior engineer at West Yost Associates who prepared the draft evaluation report, and who is present via telephone. Staff noted that finalization of the report will be deferred until after the conclusion of this meeting (so that any questions raised can be addressed in the final version of the report) and until after the receipt of information from Vogelsang which is necessary for West Yost Associates to complete an installation drawing.
Director Smith said he has studied the report carefully and questioned the recommended sizing of the pump. Given the district’s design criteria of 220 gallons per minute and 100 PSI of dynamic head, he said it seems like a single-stage pump should be sufficient (rather than the two-stage pump specified in the report). Nonetheless, West Yost is recommending the larger, two-stage pump, why? Scott explained that Vogelsang, the pump manufacturer, recommended the two-stage due to the high head condition (118-119 PSI). Director Smith noted that the pump curve on the Vogelsang website seems to indicate that the single-stage pump would be able to handle the conditions; Scott agreed to check with Vogelsang.
Staff noted Chief Operator Bill Pierce is now present and asked if, during his discussions with Vogelsang, they discussed the single-stage vs. two-stage pumps; he said they did not. Director Comstock said he is concerned about the need to move forward with this project as quickly as possible and recalls that this issue (single-stage vs. two-stage pumps) came up when Vogelsang representatives were on-site recently and the representatives explained that the two-stage pumps are necessary due to the high head requirement. He said that he recalls the representatives agreeing that the single-stage pump’s performance curve indicates it could handle the flow, but it was not recommended for the district’s particular application. Director Smith agreed, but said he thought that Vogelsang was going to provide quotes for both the single-stage and the two-stage pumps and let the district chose; however, he noted that after evaluating the requirements Vogelsang may now have made the express determination that only the two-stage pump is recommended.
Director Smith said that his priority is cost-effectiveness over time, whereas Vogelsang’s incentive is to recommend the most reliable pump, which likely is the more expensive one. He is concerned that Vogelsang hasn’t given the district information about the single-stage pump and why it will or will not work for the district’s needs, nor has Vogelsang provided cost information for the single-stage pump. Director Siedman recalled the Vogelsang representatives stating that the single-stage pumps would have to run much closer to their maximum and likely would wear much more quickly/require more maintenance than the two-stage pumps. Scott Heald concurred and said that as an engineer, he is highly dependent on the manufacturer’s recommendation about its equipment. Bill Pierce said he likes the Vogelsang pumps and is willing to proceed with the engineer’s recommendation.
Scott Heald said his review of the pump curve for the single-stage pump indicates that the pump would have to turn at quite high RPMs to produce the required flow in the force main, whereas the manufacturer wants to have its pumps run at a much lower RPM to enhance longevity. Director Smith said the maximum RPM for the pump is 800 RPMs and the curve shows it would have to run at 550 RPMs, which does not seem to be pushing it. Discussion ensued about the alternating nature of the pumps and the need for them to be similarly sized (i.e., it would not be recommended to buy one two-stage and one single-stage pump, for example).
Director Siedman noted director Comstock’s concern about the need to make a decision and move forward, especially given the monthly expense of the emergency bypass rental pump. Director Comstock said that if the manufacturer and the engineer recommend the two-stage pump, then he is not going to be persuaded to buy the single-stage pump even if it is much less expensive. He noted that more frequent maintenance, which may be required for the single-stage pump, is a big burden on staff (and therefore additional cost to the district); moreover, these are critical pieces of equipment and the district should not try and “make due” with something and go against these recommendations. Director Godino said she agrees that these pumps are such critical, essential pieces of infrastructure that it is prudent for the district to purchase the most reliable pumps as recommended by the manufacturer.
Director Amoroso inquired if there is any concern about whether the larger, two-stage pumps will be able to fit in the existing pump room. Scott Heald said that he and Vogelsang are evaluating and confirming that right now (which is why the installation drawing is not complete yet), along with whether grinders can fit, as well. Director Amoroso asked whether the district could buy only one grinder, rather than two; Scott said it might be possible and he will look at this. Director Amoroso noted it may not even be necessary to purchase grinders. Director Smith said that if grinders are necessary, it will be critical to ensure they can fit, too, and that might be another reason to purchase the smaller, single-stage pumps. Bill Pierce said that if grinders are installed ahead of the pumps, then a failure of the grinders means the pumps behind them can’t be used unless there is some sort of bypass.
Director Comstock asked whether grinders could be installed in the wetwell if there isn’t space in the pump room. Scott said it is possible but not preferable due to the corrosive environment of the wetwell. He noted that work is planned for the wetwell now to rehabilitate it and that work would need to be done before grinders could be installed. He noted that the Vogelsang rotary lobe pumps will be much better/more effective than the progressive cavity pumps the district has had in place and grinders may well not be necessary at all.
Director Siedman asked what information do the directors/staff need to move forward and what is a reasonable timeframe for that information? Director Amoroso asked what the lead time is for the pumps once it’s ordered; Scott said that Vogelsang has said 4 – 6 weeks. Staff said that Scott and/or staff should talk with Vogelsang and obtain a definitive recommendation regarding two-stage vs. one-stage and whether there is a choice, or whether the company is “no quoting” the single-stage pump. The district also needs to know if both sizes of pumps (with and/or without grinders) can fit in the pump room. Scott said it is clear that the single-stage pumps and grinders can fit in the pump room, but not yet known if the two-stage pumps (with and/or without grinders) can fit. Bill Pierce said he would like to know if the district could install grinders later and, if so, how/where?
Director Comstock said he is most concerned about the pumps as the information obtained to date from the company indicates that the pumps can operate very well in the district’s application without the grinders. He said it is clear that grinders could be installed later in the wetwell if need be, so the district should not select an inferior (smaller) pump just to fit grinders into the pump room. Director Siedman suggested staff work with Scott Heald and Vogelsang on these issues (options regarding sizes of pumps, layout configuration, costs, grinders, etc.) and bring the information back to the Board. Director Smith said that to speed things up, if it is clear that Vogelsang is “no quoting” the single-stage pump for the district’s application, then staff should proceed and order the two-stage pumps. Otherwise, Vogelsang should provide information about the alternatives available to the district and staff should select the appropriate equipment.
Staff recommended that Scott Heald finalize his report, answering all of the questions presented at this meeting, and then the Board should make the final decision on the pumps and/or grinders at a public meeting – whether at a special meeting, or at the next regular monthly meeting. Staff appreciates the Board’s efforts to move forward as soon as possible, but said it is important for the Board to review the final document and formally accept it as satisfactory before the equipment is purchased. There was no objection from the Board.
The Board tentatively agreed to meet the following week for a special meeting on July 28, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. if the engineering report is finalized. Staff noted that the work Scott is doing to prepare an installation drawing and evaluate grinders is beyond the scope of work originally approved by the Board (for $7,500). Staff inquired whether Scott would like to propose a specific additional budget amount for the work; Scott said he would send an accounting for the district’s consideration.
4. Community Expression.