MVSD Directors to discuss revamping

The project was estimated at $40 million four years ago.
MINERAL RIDGE -- Mahoning Valley Sanitary District directors plan a discussion on filtration system improvements that were initiated in the late 1980s.
David Tabak, chief engineer, said at a board meeting Wednesday that equipment at the facility dates between 45 and 70 years old. The life expectancy of the equipment is about 30 years, and a project to install meters at the plant will further burden the system.
"I believe and the staff believes that we have to go forward with the system improvements," he said.
Delays: Improvements to the filtration system were part of the capital improvements project planned in 1987. The filtration system also was set for revamping as part of a project that stalled in 1997 with the release of a special audit by state Auditor Jim Petro.
That audit accused the district of overpaying $2.4 million to the Rhode Island company acting as construction manager of the capital improvement project.
Costs: In 1997, the cost of the filtration system work was estimated at about $40 million. The district has some of the drawings and plans for the project, but Tabak said they may have to be revisited.
Alfred J. Fleming, board president, questioned if some of the work, such as valve installation, could be done in-house. Tabak said it's a complex system, and both engineers and insurance people with whom he's spoken don't recommend it.
"I feel we definitely need to go ahead with replacing the filtration system," said C. William Burgess, another director.
"What has changed is the urgency of the need," Tabak said.
Matthew J. Blair, director, suggested officials from Youngstown and Niles, the district's member cities, be brought into the discussion.
Tabak said those representatives could be invited to a round-table discussion on the improvements. The meeting hasn't been scheduled.
"This is a starting point," he said. "We have to start somewhere."

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