New fire truck, wastewater pumps on consent agenda

A new pumper truck was on the consent agenda the Hot Springs Board of Directors considered Wednesday.

The enabling resolution authorized Pierce Manufacturing to begin building a NFPA 1901 Saber Custom Fire Engine. Hot Springs Fire Chief Ed Davis told the board it will take more than two years for the truck to be delivered and put in service at the Park Avenue station. Oil Drilling Mud Pump

New fire truck, wastewater pumps on consent agenda

The city will buy the $794,565 truck through the state's cooperative purchasing agreement. Davis said it will replace a 30-year-old reserve engine and move a 23-year-old front-line engine to reserve status. The new truck can pump 2,000 gallons of water per minute.

"Its design makes it a capable responder in urban and suburban areas," he told the board. "It's designed to snake its way through those narrow roads in the northern part of the city."

The $2.28 million in short-term financing the board authorized in March will pay for the truck. The local government lending program through Amendment 78 of the Arkansas Constitution allows items with a useful life of one year or more to be financed for up to five years.

The board selected Regions Equipment Finance Corp. to carry the note. According to information provided to the board, the 4.31% interest rate was 22 basis points more than the rate the five-year U.S. Treasury note traded at Feb. 17. The rate was higher than what the city secured for short-term financing in 2021 and 2022 but lower than the 6% it had budgeted.

The city said Regions' terms were the most favorable of the five lenders that responded to its request for proposals.

Wednesday's consent agenda also included the following items:

A resolution awarding an $870,621 bid to Jack Tyler Engineering Inc. for three submersible pumps for the Gulpha Creek wastewater pump station.

The pumps are part of state-mandated improvements the city is making in the Gulpha Creek Basin area of its collection system. They will go in the new Catherine Heights Road pump station the city plans to solicit construction bids for later this month.

Delivery time for the three, 500-horsepower pumps is 20 weeks.

"The delivery time being so long, we decided to order the pumps directly and save time and the general contractor's markup," Major Capital Projects Manager Todd Piller told the board last week. "They're owner-furnished pumps and motors and contractor installed with the construction contract."

The city has said as much as half the regional wastewater system's flow passes through the pump station. It sits at the low point in the Gulpha Creek Basin and pressurizes a large-diameter force main that carries wastewater to the treatment plant on Davidson Drive.

Groundwater that enters the collection system upstream of the pump station during prolonged stretches of heavy rain can overwhelm its 8 to 12 million-gallon-a-day capacity. Flow backs up and exits through nearby manholes, leading to discharges that violate the Clean Water Act.

The city has reported millions of gallons of unpermitted discharges from the manhole next to Gulpha Creek. The city paid a $64,000 civil penalty as part of the consent decree it entered into with the state. The state suspended $51,200 of the penalty and agreed to dismiss that amount when the city comes into compliance with the Clean Water Act.

The city said the new pump station it will put out for bid later this month will have a 32 million-gallon-a-day capacity. Piller said the contractor that's awarded the bid will install the pumps after construction is completed. The city will store the pumps at the utilities department's Adams Street headquarters.

"They're submersible," he told the board. "They're going to build the whole station, and these slide-down guide rails."

The Gulpha Creek Basin project also includes more than 9,000 feet of new gravity main upstream of the pump station. The $46 million in new wastewater fund debt the board authorized last year will pay for the new pump station, gravity line and a new force main downstream of the station.

The $17.92 million the wastewater fund received from the 2020 refinancing of $38 million of debt will pay for the pumps and motors. The city said the $870,621 all-inclusive bid includes pumps, motors, base elbows, testing, spare parts, freight and sales taxes.

The bid is valid until July 12 and was the only one returned for the June 12 bid opening.

A resolution authorizing the city to purchase all of the remaining equipment for its five-year leak detection project.

The city's automatic meter reading system remotely monitors water usage on the customer's side of the meter. The technology helped it detect high usage rates when service lines broke during the February 2021 winter storm and stressed the capacity of its two treatment plants.

The city acquired technology later that year that detects high flow rates on its side of the meter. Those readings are compared to what customers are being billed for, alerting the city when more water is being distributed to parts of its more than 100 square mile service area than what's being billed.

The city wants to deploy the technology to more areas on a faster timeline.

"This is a great opportunity to reduce our water loss," Utilities Director Monty Ledbetter told the board at last week's agenda meeting. "We find leaks weekly with this system."

The resolution on Wednesday's consent agenda allows the city to purchase all of the meters and accessories for its five-year Virtual Demand Metered Area Project with Pure U.S. Technologies by the end of year three of the agreement.

"They're not getting any cheaper," Ledbetter told the board. "We'd like to go ahead and get these purchased and get them in place and get them working for us."

The city agreed to pay $250,000 a year under the terms of the original five-year agreement the board adopted in April 2021. The accelerated payment schedule on Wednesday's consent agenda increases the year three cost to $511,187.

The city will pay $77,026 a year for software and service support in years four and five. The meters line item in the water distribution section of the water fund will pay for the meters. The $20.53 million 2023 water fund budget allocated $1 million for meters.

Pure U.S. Technologies was the only company that responded to the request for proposals the city issued in 2021. The city said the company's meters provide a higher level of leak detection than the acoustic-based technology the city had been using.

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New fire truck, wastewater pumps on consent agenda

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