The Wellington Village Council approved a task order to hire engineering consulting services for six wastewater lift stations at its meeting Tuesday, Oct. 24.
The council previously approved a condition assessment for nine lift stations. The report was completed in September, and now six of those nine were recommended to be updated this fiscal year.
“There is money in the capital budget that you’ve approved for these improvements, so the contract before you will provide for the design of those improvements, and after the design, they will be competitively bid and moved forward through construction, once approved by the council,” Utilities Director Shannon LaRocque said.
The contract for the lift stations will total close to $150,000.
“That’s about $25,000 apiece, and you will never, ever see a budget where we don’t have repair and replacement for lift stations,” Village Manager Paul Schofield said. “We have 109 of them. Their average lifespan is about 20 years.”
Schofield said a budget item for lift stations will be brought before the council every year.
Councilman Michael Napoleone confirmed the multi-step process at work.
“We had the conditions assessment first, which told us which ones were in the worst shape, then we prioritize them,” he said. “And now we’re doing the engineering work to decide the best way to operate them and then move to the upgrades stage, and this process is just going to continue.”
Schofield told the council members that they will likely continue to see the contracts for each process involving the upgrades to each lift station.
Vice Mayor John McGovern asked for further details on the matter.
“They will be done separately,” Schofield said. “The fact is it is very hard for us to put all six of them under construction at one time because of the people that we have, so they will be done sequentially throughout the year.”
McGovern noted that lift stations 5, 39, 41, 44, 74 and 85 are the six stations to be authorized for upgrade throughout the coming fiscal year. He asked why they were the ones selected.
“Some of them have to do with public health concerns relative to their location and elevation, as it relates to flooding,” LaRocque said. “Some of them have to do with major equipment potential failures, so there is a wide variety. Some of it is just general renewal and replacement. You have to go and conduct this every now and then, because equipment in our wastewater system deteriorates.”
McGovern wanted to drive home the importance of these lift stations and the technology it provides the village.
“The fact is these operated and did not fail during the last storm,” he said. “Those kinds of things are essential to the overall function of our water supply and our water system, yes?”
LaRocque agreed and explained the nature of the systems.
“It basically collects the sanitary waste from homes and businesses and commercial properties, and then it repumps it to a larger lift station, that ultimately pumps it to the wastewater treatment facility,” LaRocque said.
Mayor Anne Gerwig recused herself from the agenda item.
“I need to recuse myself from this vote,” she said. “My husband’s business does work with this firm, unrelated to this project in any way, but because we have outside contracts with them, I need to recuse myself.”
Michael Napoleone made a motion to approve the task order to provide engineering consulting services for wastewater pump station upgrades, seconded by Councilwoman Tanya Siskind. It passed 3-0, with Gerwig recused and Councilman Michael Drahos absent.
In other business:
• The council presented firefighter/paramedic Bradlee Doerzbacher with the 2017 Wellington Top Firefighter Award.
Doerzbacher was joined by his chiefs and fellow members of Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue.
“While it is nice to be recognized as an individual… it’s very much a reflection of the organization as a whole,” Doerzbacher said. “It’s great to be a part of this organization. I’m very thankful, and I consider myself blessed to work in this county and in this city and town.”
Gerwig thanked all of Wellington’s firefighters and paramedics.
“This was pretty competitive this year,” Gerwig said. “We had, again, a couple of really good nominees. We want to thank our Public Safety Committee for coming up with a final on this, because it’s not easy. You’re all heroes in our book. When we call 911, and you show up, and you know what you’re doing, that’s exactly what we’re used to out here, and we want to thank you for that.”
• The council also recognized the Wellington Seniors Club for the recent celebration of its 25th anniversary.
“The great thing about the Wellington Seniors Club is that it is so large and so cohesive, and it is really a testament to its leadership that has kept that organization going forward, growing, achieving new things, trying new things,” McGovern said. “It’s something that really is reflective of all that we want to be occurring throughout this community.”