Irene impacts procurement policy

The ripple effect of Tropical Storm Irene was still being felt in the Village of Granville Monday night as every action the village board took was somehow touched or impacted by the event.

Due to substantial infrastructure damage in the village, mostly to the waste water treatment system, the village board passed a resolution to waive the standard procurement policy for repair work and materials.

Mayor Brian LaRose said the resolution was required when the village deviates from the competitive bidding process typically used for any purchases over $10,000.

“This allows us to get contractors right there,” LaRose said. “We have a stay, but that will not last forever.”

Due to the flooding, the Department of Environmental Conservation is not levying fines for water treatment systems that do not meet the standards, but for how long that procedure will continue is not clear.

Treatment plant superintendent Dan Williams said the move was needed because time was of the essence. “The timeline here is the problem,” he said, adding repair of some of the parts of the waste water system could take as long as 12 weeks to be accomplished. While DEC has given a grace period of about 30 days, Williams said his concern was the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because he is required to continue to fill out paperwork stating the treatment plant is in violation of its operating permit, despite having the DEC waiver.

With other communities suffering similar damage due to flood waters, Williams said he needed to order parts and get workers in as soon as possible to avoid being further back in line, waiting. It becomes a health and public safety issue when the waste water system will not work, he said.

Currently the village uses mobile, gas-powered pumps for moving waste water at damaged pumping station such as the Slate Valley Museum, but those pumps have been operating non stop since Aug. 28, replacement of the sewer system pumps is critical, Williams said.

“The longer we go the higher these costs are going to be,” Williams said.

Village attorney Mike Martin said the law provides relief from the bidding requirements following the declaration of an emergency. The village’s engineering firm, Lamont Engineers, said they would be tracking the costs accrued during the repair efforts with contractors likely working under a ‘time and materials’ basis.

The village was in a state of emergency from Sunday, Aug. 28 to Tuesday, Aug. 30 due to flooding caused by Irene.

During that emergency time, pumping stations were underwater and the waste water treatment plant was inundated by a water flow rate estimated to be at least three times the maximum capacity of the facility.

The resolution passed the board unanimously. Trustee Paul Labas was not at the meeting.

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