October 10, 2018

CT Construction Digest Wednesday October 10, 2018

Bethel schools redo plans, costs OK’d

BETHEL — The building committee on Tuesday night approved the final plans and cost estimates for the renovations to Rockwell and Johnson elementary schools.
The estimates keep the project on the $65.8 million budget voters approved last fall. Upgrades to Rockwell are projected to cost $24.7 million, while Johnson is estimated at $41.1 million. A state grant is covering 45 percent of eligible costs.
Rockwell was initially $90,000 over budget, but Public Site and Building Committee members eliminated panels on the second floor, bricks on a loading dock and other features to keep costs down.

School administrators will meet with state officials Wednesday for approval of the construction documents. With the state’s approval, the Rizzo Construction Company will seek bids for the project in November.
Committee members asked engineers to explore using a baseboard heating system instead of radiant heating panels, but this could change after the state approves.
Crews had planned to conduct abatement and install portable classrooms at Rockwell in the winter, but this work will now be done over the summer.
This means Rockwell students will not need to go into portable classrooms this spring, as initially proposed, Superintendent Christine Carver told Rockwell parents at a meeting Tuesday. A similar meeting to update Johnson parents is planned for Nov. 13. Portable classrooms will not be at Johnson.
Carver said nearly all removal of asbestos and small amounts of PCBs and lead at Rockwell can be completed over the summer, but some of that work could be done during the school year.
Jim Twitchell, an environmental consultant from Hygenix Inc, said students and staff would not be in the part of the school that is being cleaned up. Barriers, fences and signs would prevent children or teachers from wandering into the area, he said.
Per the latest plans, work on the second floor of Rockwell will begin in June and end in December, with the renovations of the first floor starting in January 2020 and finishing at the end of August.
The Rockwell main office will be worked on this summer, while the nurse’s office, custodial area, bus loop and parking lot will be done from April 2020 until the end of August. Rockwell’s cafeteria, kitchen and gym will also be completed during the summer of 2020.
To provide more construction time without the students in school, this summer is scheduled to be about 12 weeks, with the last day of school set for June 7, with students returning Sept. 3.
Carver has already warned parents and staff that school could be held on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19 if too many snow days accumulate.
“We need that construction time in the summer,” she said.
Carver assured parents that construction workers would undergo background checks and park at the old police station, not on the school campus.
“Construction workers will never be with children,” she said.Parents said at Tuesday’s meeting said they are looking forward to the upgrades and had few concerns with the plan.
“I’m thrilled,” said Nancy Goldstein, who has children in second and fifth grades. “The schools really are in need of it. Even though the process might be challenging at times, I think that it’s really important that the schools are upgraded and optimal for learning.”

Bristol council selects contractor for school project

BRISTOL - The City Council has selected Eagle Environmental Inc. of Terryville as the contractor for the Memorial Boulevard School renovation project.
Eagle was awarded a contract for $39,905. It will provide services including analysis of regulated materials and design services for the conversion of the former school building into an intradistrict arts magnet school.
Before the council meeting, as the Joint Board - City Council and Board of Finance - was preparing to adjourn, Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu played a video of highlights from the recently concluded Mum Festival.
Several members of the Mum Festival Committee and the Exchange Club, which helps sponsor the event, were in attendance and Zoppo-Sassu had them stand and be recognized.
“This past festival had excellent weather and quality vendors and went beyond expectations,” said Zoppo-Sassu. “We can’t attach a value to the extent that this event is a marketing piece for Bristol. We’re all looking forward to 2019 and having another high quality festival that defines our city.”
During the Joint Board meeting, Comptroller Diane Waldron reported that tax revenues were coming in as expected this quarter. However, building permit fees and investment were coming in higher.
“It was a difficult year, with a lot of state revenues not coming in like we budgeted for, but as things currently stand, we will likely end the year with a slight surplus,” she said. “Auditors should be coming in by the end of the month and their report should be available by mid-December.”
As its meeting began, the council honored Tom Mazzarella of Mazzarella Media with the first Bristol All Heart Award. He helped the police produce their lip sync challenge video, set to John Fogerty’s “Centerfield.” The video was played during the meeting, drawing laughter and applause.
“This is another piece of our marketing puzzle,” said Zoppo-Sassu. “We want people to feel good about where they live and work and you did a fantastic job.”

Ceremony marks start of project at Plainville treatment plant

PLAINVILLE - Town leaders and state officials gathered at the Water Pollution Control Facility Tuesday for a ceremonial groundbreaking to mark the beginning of mandated upgrades that will reduce phosphorus levels.
The ceremony was attended by state Rep. William Petit Jr., Assistant Town Manager Shirley Osle, Town Councilors Kathy Pugliese and Rosemary Morante, and other town staff.
Each congratulated those who had worked to make the project run as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible.
Osle said it was an “exciting day” for the city.
“Plainville always stays on top of things and does what we are supposed to,” she said. “We have managed to save a lot of money by getting the maximum amount of funding possible. We have always had a good relationship with DEEP.”
Petit said that it is “wonderful” that Plainville is ahead of the curve on combating pollution. He noted that he serves on the Public Health Committee and that science has made major strides in the area of clean water over the past 120 years.
“Five years ago, Kathy Pugliese and my predecessor, Betty Boukus, got the ball rolling on this and this moment is testament to their hard work,” he said.
Pugliese said that she and Boukus spoke at Hartford trying to secure as large a grant as possible for the project. Their efforts ultimately paid off.
“I want to thank Joe Alosso, superintendent of the Water Pollution Control Facility, and everyone else who has been working hard to make sure that we meet the rigid standards put into place by the state and federal regulators,” she said.
Denise Ruzicka, director of water planning and management with DEEP, also spoke. She said Plainville is the third community to award a contract for the phosphorus reduction improvements.
“Plainville has been very diligent in working to move this project forward and we appreciate your efforts,” she said. “You are ahead of the curve.”
Alosso thanked Plainville residents for their “unwavering support” of the upgrades to the facility at town referendums.
“We can be proud that this project will provide clean waterways for all to enjoy,” he said. “This is actually the second recent upgrade to our facility. The last was to remove nitrogen, which can cause large algae blooms. This project is moving forward under budget and on schedule. We are doing all that we can to preserve the aquatic life that calls Connecticut home.”
After delivering their remarks, the town officials donned hardhats and posed, digging into a pile of dirt with golden shovels, for the ceremonial groundbreaking.
Paul Morgan, project manager with Tighe & Bond, said that the upgrade is being done to comply with new regulations from DEEP, to improve the facility’s resiliency and to upgrade from aging equipment that had exceeded its useful life.
DEEP requires a 90 percent reduction in phosphorus levels by July 10, 2019, at water pollution control facilities in 11 communities, including Plainville. Other cities and towns received lesser reduction requirements.
“We are in compliance with their schedule and well on our way to meeting that deadline,” said Morgan. “They are calling for a reduction in phosphorus because it affects fresh water systems, such as the Pequabuck River. Phosphorus is not a contaminant, but a nutriment, and too much phosphorus causes an excess of plant growth that upsets the ecological balance.”
The total cost for the upgrades is $15,140,000. But because Plainville was prompt in applying for loans to begin upgrades, Morgan said, the town is benefiting from a 41 percent grant, the largest offered.
A low-interest, 2 percent, loan will cover the remaining $8,879,110.
Morgan said the improvements will include more cost-effective technology, such as a higher capacity sludge processing system. The disinfection system will be relocated to 3 feet above 100-year flood levels.
The work will take 27 months to complete, according to Tighe & Bond’s projections, and is expected to finish around Oct. 15, 2020.
Deepwater Wind acquisition doesn’t change commitment to New London

Benjamin Kail           
New London — A day after announcing the $510 million purchase of Deepwater Wind, Ørsted leaders pledged to uphold commitments to upgrade New London's State Pier and help the region play a leading role in an offshore wind industry primed for growth along the East Coast.
"We think you need to have a couple of hubs, in the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic," Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted US Offshore Wind, said in an interview Tuesday. "We certainly think New London is very well positioned. For us to take this step and make an acquisition is a sign of the market along the Eastern Seaboard."
Brostrøm noted that seven states have committed to build more than 10 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030. With such expansion in the works and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management looking to lease more swaths of federal waters to developers, Denmark-based Ørsted says the acquisition of the Providence-based Deepwater Wind and a pitch to run the New London State Pier are timely moves that will lead to long-term commitments.
Ørsted confirmed on Tuesday that Bay State Wind, its joint venture with Eversource, has teamed up with New Haven-based Gateway Terminal to submit a proposal to operate State Pier, which already is slated for $30 million worth of upgrades split between Deepwater Wind and the state.
The Connecticut Port Authority's review of proposals remains ongoing. Messages left with port officials were not immediately returned.
"We are a company that has brought the supply chain to many countries in many areas of the world," Brostrøm said, noting industry and manufacturing being closer to deployment and staging areas cuts transportation costs while boosting local economies.
Francis Slingsby, Ørsted's head of strategic partnerships in North America, said the company was the "anchor tenant for the renovation of Belfast Harbour," which handled hundreds of thousands of tons of wind farm components and served as a pre-assembly port for Ørsted's Walney Extension offshore wind farm.
"That was really a good template for what we believe could conceivably happen in New London," Slingsby said. He cited New London's geographical advantages, solid local industries and a skilled workforce as vital assets inspiring Ørsted to push for a "long-term commitment bringing our experience and ability" to create an offshore wind terminal in the city.
Owned by investment firm D.E. Shaw pending the acquisition's closing, Deepwater Wind built the nation's first offshore wind farm off Block Island. Three Deepwater Wind offshore wind projects are in the works for Rhode Island and Connecticut, Maryland and New York.
The state picked Deepwater Wind to deliver 200 megawatts to Connecticut from its 75-turbine Revolution Wind project in federal waters south of Martha's Vineyard. Its proposal included a $15 million sweetener to help upgrade State Pier to ready the port for substation construction and secondary steel fabrication.
Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said those commitments remain intact following the acquisition, allowing "major aspects of the wind farm to be built locally."
From 'black to green'
Ørsted's U.S. portfolio includes partnerships with Eversource, New Jersey utility PSE&G and Virginia-based Dominion Energy.
In Connecticut's recent zero-carbon electricity auction, Ørsted proposed to deliver enough electricity to power 450,000 Connecticut homes from an offshore wind farm south of Martha's Vineyard. The proposal included a $25 million fund to spur growth in the local economy and to support skills training and environmental stewardship programs. The company previously lost out to proposals from New Bedford-based Vineyard Wind and Deepwater Wind for contracts in Massachusetts and Connecticut, respectively.
Formerly Danish Oil and Natural Gas, Ørsted is the world's largest offshore wind developer. Brostrøm said the company in recent years sold off its oil and gas business and is converting its last coal-fired plant into a biomass plant in Denmark.
"Over the last 10 years we have transitioned ourselves from being a black energy company to being entirely green," he said.
The company sold off its onshore wind business several years ago but re-entered the American market in a big way this summer, spending almost $600 million in August to buy onshore wind developer Lincoln Clean Energy.
"We are very busy these days," Brostrøm said, noting the move to acquire Lincoln Clean Energy came when onshore wind costs were down and when the company hoped to become less dependent on the offshore wind market.
Questions linger
Mayor Michael Passero said city officials have been torn between Deepwater Wind and Ørsted-Eversource's Bay State Wind. Officials liked that Deepwater Wind planned to open an office in New London and perform construction here, but Ørsted's experience with port expansion also was appealing, Passero said.
"The acquisition solved an immediate problem for us," he said. "Ørsted has built out ports in Europe and transformed them into world-class ports in connection to their development of offshore wind, which is years ahead of us. Ørsted is presenting something that looks like it's great for the future of the city. Now we're able to move forward with both these great partners."
The city and Deepwater Wind are negotiating a host community agreement, essentially a two-year financial commitment that has not yet been finalized, Passero said.
Felix Reyes, the city's director of development and planning, said conversations with Ørsted have been "very positive, with great interest in New London being their home hub for future development."
But Reyes urged local and state officials to focus on the potential long-term economic impact on New London, especially considering successful ports already exist in Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.
"We can't assume this merger means more things for the city," Reyes said. "We have to work closely with Ørsted and Deepwater Wind to understand what are the true commitments, what are the jobs we are talking about."
Reyes hopes Ørsted follows through on its push for supply-chain development in the region, utilizing the Thames River and rail lines "to create some industry" that also could benefit Montville, Norwich and other communities.
Environmental and labor groups this week applauded the acquisition.
Catherine Bowes, the National Wildlife Federation's offshore wind program director, said the move "comes at a pivotal moment in America's offshore wind story."
"We know responsibly developed offshore wind power offers a critical solution to climate change, and the first round of U.S. projects must be sited and built with wildlife in mind," she said, adding that the Block Island Wind Farm set a strong precedent.
John Humphries of the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs called the acquisition "good news for the state and the region."
"We anticipate ... even more significant investments in New London's harbor infrastructure than Deepwater Wind's initial commitment," he said. "That's good news for Connecticut's workers and their communities. And as the industry continues to expand, the cost of producing and delivering this new source of clean energy will continue to come down, which will be further good news for Connecticut's ratepayers and for the climate."
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman Chris Collibee said his agency still was evaluating the merger but did not expect any significant impact on the zero-carbon auction. DEEP expects to select winning proposals from low-emitting and zero-carbon energy producers including wind, solar and nuclear facilities by the end of the year. Pricing information and other details have been redacted in the proposals to the state. Successful energy producers will hammer out contracts with utilities after DEEP makes its selections.

October 10th Is "Imagine A Day Without Water." What Are Water Companies Across The State Doing?

Some homeowners on Linbrook Road in West Hartford got an unsavory reminder of the importance of water and sewer infrastructure last week — when their basements flooded with up to five feet of brown wastewater after a sewer liner collapsed.
Bloomfield residents showed up in force when a private water bottling company wanted to make the town its new home, then bottle and sell that water to paying customers nationally. What would happen if there was a drought, they asked.
In January alone, the Metropolitan District responded to 120 water main breaks that rerouted commuters around the Hartford area. The highest number of water main breaks — 35 — were in Hartford, followed by 25 in West Hartford, with more than 10 breaks in Windsor, Wethersfield and East Hartford, according to data provided by the MDC.
When those things aren’t happening — sewer water lifting couches off basement floors, droughts forcing residents to curtail water use, a water main break inconveniencing a daily commute — people typically aren’t paying attention to water issues. At least that’s the sentiment behind the national “Imagine A Day Without Water” campaign.
Nearly 1,000 different water agencies, businesses, municipalities, car washes, aquariums and zoos across the country are expected to take part in Wednesday’s campaign — writing op-eds to local newspapers, educating through social media, offering tours of water treatment plants, challenging students and adults to think of their day without water — to raise awareness of the infrastructure and the workers behind clean drinking water.
This is the fourth year of the “Imagine A Day Without Water” campaign, according to Abigail Gardner, communications director of the Value of Water Campaign.
“Water infrastructure is usually out of sight and out of mind,” Gardner said. “It’s an opportunity to raise awareness of water systems taken for granted.”
Connecticut’s four largest water companies — the MDC in Hartford, the South Central Regional Water Authority in New Haven, Aquarion in Bridgeport, and Connecticut Water Company in East Windsor — will take to social media on Wednesday to educate users about water, conservation and the projects underway in their communities.
The MDC is weeks away from turning on a 400-foot-long machine that will drill a four mile tunnel from Hartford to West Hartford — part of the $2 billion Clean Water Project
The MDC manages 1,500 miles of water main, with a replacement schedule of about 2.7 miles a year. From 2008 to 2017, the MDC spent about $26 million a year on water main replacements, data shows. This year, about 4 miles has been replaced so far, according to spokesperson Nick Salemi.
The MDC interviewed a local brewery — Thomas Hooker Brewery — to discuss the importance of water to their business. That video will be shared on social media Wednesday.
The South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority spends between $25 million and $30 million a year to maintain nearly 1,7000 miles of water main infrastructure, according to spokesperson Dan Doyle, which boasts one of the lowest water main break records in the country. Currently, the agency is working on water mains in West Haven, East Haven and Cheshire, Doyle said.
The other area the agency looks to address is looming retirements — about 40 percent of the water industry is expected to see employees retire in the next five years — and the agency is coordinating with local colleges to get trained professionals to replace that workforce, Doyle said.
This year, Aquarion focused infrastructure efforts on dam restoration at the Aspetuck Reservoir, but also replaced water mains and maintained pump and treatment facilities, according to public relations director Peter Fazekas. Aquarion serves 625,000 in Connecticut alone, mostly in Fairfield County.
By 2019, Aquarion will have completed a transmission project in Stamford — installing 13,500 feet of 24-inch water main — a $14 million project.
This week, Aquarion will visit with students at Seymour Middle School and Helen Keller Middle School in Easton to talk about conservation. The water company has rolled out mandatory conservation efforts in six towns after a 2016 drought prompted installation of a temporary water line on the Merritt Parkway.
In the first year, the company saw nearly 1 billion gallons of water conserved.
Connecticut Water Company spends between $16 and $17 million each year to replace water mains. The company manages about 1,700 miles of water main, according to Dan Mealey, Director of Corporate Communications. Over the last 10 years, the company replaced 120 miles of water main.
In 2017, Connecticut Water completed construction at the Rockville drinking water treatment facility, a $36.3 million project next to Shenipsit Lake.
Connecticut Water Company services about 325,000 spanning 56 cities and towns, Mealey said.