The Hamilton County WWTA Board of Commissioners has named chief engineer Michael Patrick as the organization’s interim executive director. He replaces former executive director Mark Harrison who resigned late last week.
Prior to joining the WWTA as chief engineer, Mr. Patrick was the director of the city of Chattanooga’s Water Wastewater Resources Division. He was responsible for the overall operation of the city’s regional water and wastewater collection and treatment system.
Mr. Patrick was also critical in negotiating the consent decree between the EPA and the city of Chattanooga, officials said.
WWTA Board Chairman Mike Moon said, “Michael Patrick brings the perfect mix of experience and expertise as he becomes our interim executive director. As someone who has worked for the city’s water and wastewater collection and treatment system, he is well aware of how each system uniquely works. He also counts professionals from the city and the county as colleagues. We look forward to him putting those relationships to work as we continue planning for the future.”
Mr. Moon also noted that the WWTA’s meeting with the EPA has been rescheduled to March 6. “There’s a great deal of work ahead for the WWTA and the community as a whole. We are grateful to have Mike’s leadership and insights at this critical juncture.”
On Wednesday, the WWTA's board of directors met for the first time since Executive Director Harrison resigned. He had been in that position around two and a half years. Chairman of the Board Moon said that the board thanks him for the tireless work he did while director. "He saw us through a lot of changes and turmoil," he said, "and I appreciate his efforts and wish him the best in the future."
The Lookout Mountain sewer basin rehabilitation is a large upcoming project that the WWTA is preparing to put out for bid. An amendment with engineering consultants S&ME, Inc. for additional design and engineering services has been added to the original project. On Wednesday, the board approved the additional amount of $297,050 for those professional services for a total cost not to exceed $528,050 without approval by the aboard.
Scott McDonald, vice president of S&ME, the company hired by WWTA to draw up the specs for sewer rehabilitation projects, made a presentation of the method that will be used in the trenchless rehabilitation of the sewer system on Lookout Mountain and which is now being used for similar work in East Ridge. A felt tube saturated with resin will be used to line the existing buried pipes. Heated water is circulated through the tubes to cure the materials which then become hard, durable sections of piping. The life expectancy of these pipes is 30 or more years, said Mr. McDonald. The specifications that will be used to determine which company is awarded the bid include the method of installation and experience of the company and the foreman on the project.
Representatives from the Nashville company, J&H Construction, made a formal request to the board to consider using a different method of curing the pipe lining which uses steam instead of water. They said this method which they use yields the same results and is faster and cheaper than curing with water. That claim was disputed by Mr. McDonald who told the board that using water produces a higher quality product. Steam curing produces pipes with microscopic holes in the surface, he said. He warned that lining cannot be replaced and, if it is found to be faulty, it all must be dug up and replaced.
J&H was asking for a deviation from the standards expected by the WWTA which have been in place for some time, said one board member. Another member said that S&ME was hired to draw up the specs "and they become our specs. We have to rely on our engineers." Cheaper and faster is not always better, said another board member. The company from Nashville was told they needed to prove to Scott McDonald that their method is as good, and then he would be in a position to advise the board. They were told that the company could submit a bid noting their exemptions so they could participate in the project. The construction cost is expected to be around $4,670,000.
Bids for a sewer project in Red Bank have already been received. Discussion at the meeting surrounded awarding the bid to the second lowest bidder, Brown Brothers, for the amount of $2,019,091. This bid is $432,561 above the lowest bid, which came from Norris Brothers Excavating, LLC. Concerns with that company surfaced when references were checked which resulted in the staff making the recommendation to give the job to Brown Brothers. A motion to accept this bid was approved by the board.
Another resolution that was passed authorized negotiation of a contract with CTI Engineers, Inc. for professional services required for the Soddy Daisy Industrial Park pump station controls and force main upgrades.
The WWTA board voted to accept ownership of the Stonegate Subdivision sewer system with a fair market value of $210,000 and the Magnolia Farms subdivision sewer system valued at $590,000.
Other resolutions that were passed are to enter into a contract with Licensed Master Plumbers for the private service lateral program. This is a renewal of the 2018 contract with the company. A.D. Engineering Services, Inc. was pre-qualified to perform engineering services for a period of two years.
An “arrears analysis” of Tennessee American Water Customers, as of Feb. 19, showed that $214,655 is owed by customers whose payments to WWTA are from one to four months late. WWTA has received $849,625 from customers who are current with sewer charges.
The financial status of the WWTA from June 2018 was given at the Wednesday meeting, showing a clean opinion. This is the best that you can get, the board was told.