E.P. Council gives formal approval to SUEZ wastewater renewal

Revised contract provides city with savings, attempts to quell plant odors

By Mike Rego
Posted 5/5/21

EAST PROVIDENCE — The council, at its May 4 meeting, authorized the Office of Mayor Bob DaSilva to sign a contract renewal with SUEZ North America for continued operations of the city’s …

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E.P. Council gives formal approval to SUEZ wastewater renewal

Revised contract provides city with savings, attempts to quell plant odors

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The council, at its May 4 meeting, authorized the Office of Mayor Bob DaSilva to sign a contract renewal with SUEZ North America for continued operations of the city’s sewage treatment plant in Riverside.

As presented to the council in February 2021, the new pact will pay SUEZ $4.98 million per year over the 10 years of the contract, which is $250,000 in cost savings annually or $2.5 million total from the existing deal.

Currently, the city pays Suez, which maintains much of East Providence’s water/sewer system and the treatment plant off Bullocks Point Avenue, a total $5.23 million annually for operations.

The savings will be gained by a staffing reduction from 21 to 18.8 full-time employees. That aspect must receive Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, which has given initial “acceptance” of the proposal.

In addition, a maintenance and improvement expenditure limit of $1 million annually has been included. Key is any item costing above $25,000 must gain city approval.

Also, if maintenance and improvement spending in any year is below a million, the city can receive the surplus in the form of a refund or can roll over the balance to future years.

Of note as well, the new agreement requires SUEZ to cap the primary tanks in an attempt to alleviate long-standing odor issues.

At-Large Council Bob Rodericks inquired of Thomas Azevedo, the Project Manager at the Riverside plant, if capping of the tanks was the solution?

Mr. Azevedo said it should help contain odors, especially for those residents closest to the Bullocks Point Avenue plant.

He added due to the capping, air circulation must be regulated. A design is in the process of drafted to address that issue.

The new agreement includes the installation of the caps for clarifiers and other improved odor reduction efforts. SUEZ will also employ use of the SL-RAT (Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tool), a crucial blockage identifying technology.

Asked by Ward 4 Councilor Ricardo Mourato about another lingering issue, how the Town of Barrington has responded to repeated concerns about its contribution to the system, Mr. Azevedo said the neighboring community has been using a better chemical for some time to help decrease the odor.

Barrington’s waste is treated in East Providence as a part of a long-standing agreement between the municipalities through a 24-inch diameter pipe that is three-and-a-half miles long.

He also noted SUEZ continuously samples sewage coming in from Barrington and the contractor there does weekly sampling to determine if any change in the formula of chemicals requires adjustment.

Mr. Azevedo added Barrington was previously using a product that was “clearly ineffective,” but a meeting a few years ago between local and state officials “put Barrington on the spot” to make the necessary changes.

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