Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
The Utility Advisory Commission met on Nov. 2 and considered bids for water treatment chemicals, a contract for utility locate services and heard the third quarter utility outage reports the Nov. 2 meeting.

Outage Reports
Electric – In the third quarter of 2017, The electric staff responded to 21 outages affecting 2754 customers: seven due to equipment failure, seven due to animals, two caused by storms, two due to damage by others, and two due to unknown causes. The average response time was 20 minutes and the overall average length of outage was two hours and two minutes.
Waste Water – In the third quarter of 2017, line maintenance staff repaired one sanitary sewer line breakage discovered by a routine sewer camera inspection. The repair was completed in eight hours. There were no sewer backups or disruptions.
Water Distribution – In the third quarter of 2017, line maintenance staff responded to nine water line breaks or leaks; one due to a valve failure, two due to hardware failures caused by corrosion, four due to main line cracks or holes, and two due to service line breaks. The average response time was 22 minutes, with the average repair completion time being 4 hours and 41 minutes. All repairs were during regular work hours and a total of 20 customers were affected.
Water Treatment Chemicals
Business item #1 was to consider recommending city council approve the purchase of water treatment chemicals.
Gonzalo Garcia, utilities director, presented the staff’s review. Five supplier bids were selected to provide nine different chemicals at a total cost of $271,278.
That purchase would be for 48,000 lbs. of Activated Carbon, 40,000 lbs. of Ammonium Sulfate, 225,000 lbs. of ACH, 180,000 lbs. of Caustic Soda, 30,000 lbs. of HFS Fluoride, 36,000 lbs. of Chlorine, 100,000 lbs. of Sodium Permanganate, 25,000 lbs. of Solution Cationic Plymer and 2,500 lbs of Dry Anionic Polymer.
Mark Baldwin, chairman, asked if there were any shipping or delivery charges not represented in the figures. Garcia said delivery expenses were included.
Clint Barney, commission member, noted a discrepancy in the rate comparison chart presented. The chart shows a price per pound and total bid – one vendor’s numbers showed a price per pound that did not match up to the total cost.
The commission was looking for the lowest bid. This vendor had the lowest per pound rate, but the total cost was not the lowest. It was assumed the total price was in error and that vendor was the lowest bid.
Barney agreed that was likely the case but wanted to be sure. He made a motion to table the item to the next meeting.
Garcia said the purchase had to be approved before the end of the year.
“We have one more [UAC] meeting in December, and then it needs to go to city council, hopefully there is a second [December city council] meeting,” Garcia said.
The motion to table did not get a second.
Ryan Learned, commission member, asked if they could approve all but the one item in question.
Andrew Krievins, commission member, made a motion to accept the low bids for water treatment chemicals but added “provided they are truly the lowest cost per unit price” to the staff recommended motion.
The motion carried with a 4-1 vote. Barney was the nay vote.

Utility Locating Service
The commission considered a contract for utility locating services. This is the service used to locate underground utilities prior to any construction that requires digging.
The city has been on a renewable service contract with the same provider for many years. In September, that vendor submitted a new pricing structure, prompting the city to do a RFP (Request for Proposals) for competitive bids.
The commission was presented with two proposals, one from the current vendor, USIC, and one new proposal from Integrity LS.
The USIC rate is $15 for the first half hour. If it takes longer, billing rate is $12.50 per 15 minutes over 30. That rate is promised for 2018-19 with increases in 2020 and 2021.
Integrity LS is $16 for the first hour and that rate is guaranteed for four years.
Rates are charged for each utility. Some Gardner properties could need to locate as many as six utilities.
“Right now the city of Gardner has water, electric, wastewater, storm water, fiber optic and gas. Six utilities. The way the tickets are issued now is per utility,” said Garcia.
The chart from the agenda packet shows cost for locating four utilities would be $90.95 with USIC and $56 with Integrity LS.
Barney made a motion, seconded by Learned, to recommend council approve the contract with Integrity Locating Services. The motion caried with a 5-0 vote.