Repairs to wastewater treatment plant covered by extraordinary expense funds

Sep 5, 2019 by

By JILLIAN STRING

Published September 5, 2019

NORTH READING — School Committee Chairman Scott Buckley informed the committee that the district already took a hit to the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget due to the replacement of three membranes for the wastewater treatment plant at the middle/high school.

“What Mr. Buckley is speaking about is we didn’t anticipate the need to replace the three membranes of the wastewater treatment plant. We had hoped to be able to put them on the list of capital improvements projects for Fiscal Year 2021, but they needed to be replaced sooner,” Superintendent Jon Bernard explained. “That work has been done. It was done in early July.”

The Wastewater Treatment Plant Engineering Report of 2017 states that the external tubular membrane system is used to separate the treated wastewater from the biomass (activated sludge).

According to Bernard, the membranes require periodic cleaning and maintenance in order to properly filter wastewater from the plant.

“We had had (the membranes) cleaned last year, and we thought we were going to be good for a couple of years,” Bernard said. “Unfortunately, they needed to be replaced this summer. That was expensive. That was around $23,000.”

Bernard noted that the extraordinary expense portion of the maintenance budget had been restored for FY20.

“We had been able to restore a line item in our budget for extraordinary things,” Bernard said. “It was a good thing that we got that money restored, because it was used (for) this unanticipated expense. The negative to it all was we didn’t expect to be using it in the first month of the fiscal year.”

Bernard and Director of Finance and Operations Michael Connelly noted that the budget is still in good shape.

“It doesn’t impact the budget in a negative way. There’s no deficit run. It just means that money we had put aside for these kinds of things was spent very early in the fiscal year,” Bernard said.

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