Belpre to buy generator as wastewater treatment standby

BELPRE — Belpre officials are working on plans for an expensive but necessary equipment replacement project at the Belpre Wastewater Treatment plant.

At Monday’s meeting of Belpre City Council, an ordinance authorizing the city’s safety-service director to advertise for bids for a new standby generator at the wastewater plant was approved on first reading, with additional readings to take place in the future.

Mike Betz, the city’s public works superintendent, said the generator currently in use at the plant was installed 37 years ago, in 1980, and such equipment usually has a life of 20 years.

The generator has had several failures in the past five years and city workers have been able to make repairs and restore it to operation, but it is reaching the point where it can’t be fixed, Betz said.

While the generator is not used in daily operations, it is an essential piece of equipment. If a power outage occurs in Belpre affecting the plant, the generator operates about 90 percent of the wastewater plant’s equipment, Betz said.

The exact replacement cost is not known, but the city’s engineering firm is working to determine that information, he said. A rough estimate calls for $110,000 for a new generator and $72,000 for contractor services and installation since it is not a project city workers can undertake, Betz said.

“I think it’s important we move as fast as we can on this,” Mayor Mike Lorentz said.

In other business, council approved all three readings of a supplemental appropriation moving $20,000 between two line items in the fire department budget. The appropriation was necessary to pay for repairs to two of the department’s fire trucks.

Council approved the first reading of the 2018 temporary appropriation for fiscal year 2018. Additional readings will take place in the future.

Lorentz said the city of Belpre is continuing to work with AEP to address slip repairs on Dragstrip Road. Surveyors have been out and he hopes for a quick response from the road crew.

“AEP has set a goal for having this completed before the asphalt plants close,” Lorentz said.

The mayor swore in two new officers in the Belpre Volunteer Fire Department. Bryan Harpold is now a captain in the department, while Jerry Hampton has been promoted to lieutenant.

If things continue on schedule, Lorentz said, the Belpre Police Department’s new canine, Brausky, should be present at the next council meeting to be formally called to duty.