Saline City Council Temporarily Outsources Some Wastewater Treatment Duties


Saline City Council agreed to spend $26,400 to outsource wastewater treatment plant duties over the coming months.

Council voted 7-0 to approve City Manager Colleen O'Toole's recommendation which will pay $12,000 to Tetra Tech and $14,400 to Infrastructure Alternatives.

O'Toole told council that the department of water production and wastewater treatment is short-staffed as it works to comply with permit obligations and ensure safe operations. Steve Wyzgoski resigned as superintendent of the department late last year. The wastewater treatment plant also has an employee out due to health reasons.

O'Toole said Infrastructure Alternatives can provide "boots on the ground help."

"They have a number of licensed operators who can be physically present at the plant and provide direct assistance and hands-on training and assist us with starting to develop best practices," O'Toole said.

O'Toole said she saw Tetra Tech taking a project management and administrative support role to help the city compete what will be necessary to meet the terms of the administrative consent order being negotiated with the state.

Mayor Brian Marl said he was strongly in favor of O'Toole's recommended approach. Councillor Dean Girbach, who serves as council's liaison to an ad hoc committee deal with wastewater treatment issues, agreed. Girbach said the solution will give the city "more sets of eyes looking at everything."

Girbach said the city is saving money at the moment because there is no superintendent on the payroll. 

In a memo to council, O'Toole estimated the arrangement would last four to five months. She estimated Infrastructure Alternatives would spend 8-12 hours a week helping the city, which Tetra Tech would spend 4-8 hours a week helping the city.

Councillor Kevin Camero-Sulak asked O'Toole if the firms indicated a willingness to provide more help should the city find itself in need. O'Toole said both firms indicated such a willingness.

The city is currently advertising for a superintendent and a full-time staff person.

O'Toole solicited proposals from three firms and received responses from Tetra Tech and Infrastructure Alternatives. She took their proposals and created a hybrid involving both firms. Answering a question fro Councillor Jim Dell'Orco, O'Toole said both firms were comfortable with the hybrid approach.

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is not local
This is unverified