Duncan asks for exemption on sewer project

August 13, 2012


PDT Staff Writer

City Wastewater Director Rick Duncan said he was going to ask Portsmouth City Council Monday night for an an exemption from the Community Workforce Agreement for a upcoming specialized sewer project. The council meeting was Monday evening, and the events of that meeting were not available at press time.

Portsmouth City Council President John Haas, said he has spoken with a number of the local unions and, “they have no problem exempting this from the PLA (Project Labor Agreement).”

Duncan said the city has received $650,000 from the Ohio Public Works Commission to fund a needed sewer project. The funding comes in the form of a $400,000 grant and a $250,000 zero interest loan.

“The sewers in North Moreland were installed in the 1920s and 30s. They are very old, whenever it rains we get a lot of ground water into the sewers,” Duncan said. “A lot of the mortar from the pipes is gone so they leak a lot of ground water into the sewer lines.”

Duncan said the contractor “will clean the lines out, they will pull a sewer liner which is like a fabric that has epoxy in it, through the pipe. They will inflate the material with hot water or steam. The heat from the water or the steam will cause the liner to harden. So, basically its like putting a new pipe inside of an old pipe, but the new pipe will not leak.”

Duncan said a pre-bid meeting was held on July 25 with some of the potential contractors.

“At this meeting the contractors said their crews are specialized and are trained to do certain jobs and it was not practical for them to take people from the local union hall,” Duncan said. “There was a lot of discussion about weather they would even bid on the project and I was told we would not get any bidders on the job if the workforce agreement was kept in place.”

He said the way the Community Workforce Agreement is written, to get an exemption a request has to be made to city council.

“We (the city of Portsmouth) are under orders from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to make this improvement. This will help satisfy them as far as this part of the sewer system,” Duncan said.

Duncan said he hopes to have the project finished in October or November. He said it depends on who gets the contract and how soon they can get a crew together to work on it.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or wallen@heartlandpublications.com.