WEIRTON - Residents could see an increase in water bills in the near future as the upgrades to Weirton's water plant are expected to reach substantial completion by March 26.
During Thursday's Weirton Water Board meeting, Jonathan Carpenter of Thrasher Engineering presented a collection of photos to board members as work continues to be done to the city's water plant.
The project currently in place is set to install a permanent air-stripper mechanism which will disinfect the water and reduce the amount of trihalomethanes - a result of chlorine or other disinfectants used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water reacting with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter in water - from the city's drinking water.
Once the project reaches substantial completion and the Weirton Area Water Board has the certificate in hand, the second tier of rate increases for the water department will be implemented - meaning the meter charge currently at $4.50 will be raised to $5.50 bi-monthly while the flat rate, currently at $5.40, will increase to $6.26 and the minimum bi-monthly charge would be $23.52.
In February, Carpenter submitted a change order request for a 20-workday extension on the project, which was approved.
With that in mind, he said the project should be done by the set date of March 26.
"Things are moving along," he said. "The flocculator and mixers are ready. The big thing is the 30-inch pipe in the diversion box, which is a muddy mess."
The contractor, he said, has been working on the diversion box through the rainy weather. However, according to Carpenter, Cattrell Companies of Toronto, Ohio may be submitting a request for additional rain days as well.
"Rain wouldn't impede the work," said Utilities Director Butch Mastrantoni to which Carpenter agreed but asked the contractor submit the request in writing for consideration.
At the moment, Carpenter added, there is a hole being cut in the diversion box to install a vertical pipe and then they must pour the concrete to hold it in place, requiring seven days to cure the concrete.
Mastrantoni said the area they are working on is enclosed enough to where it can be covered and shouldn't be a problem.
In addition, there may be some increases in the project cost.
Carpenter said he is preparing to negotiate the costs with Cattrell Companies over nearly $25,000 in accumulated increases. The costs, he said, are associated with many little things that have added up. On the other hand, he said, there have been some decreases he will be presenting to the board as well.
"Staff has been aware of the potential changes," he said noting some work on line relocation and the HVAC system.
Carpenter said the fourth filter and all UV units should be ready to go online making it possible to meet the deadline and allowing the city of Weirton to take ownership.
Other exterior work, such as gravel, grass seed and pavement, will not take place until at least May, he added. Some other work that will be included in the second substantial completion include painting that will not affect the operation of the plant.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)