Hudson approves treatment facility contract

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Work to remove lead paint in Hudson’s town hall was set to begin on Aug. 16. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)
Hudson Town Hall
(Photo/Dakota Antelman)

HUDSON – A contract for the operation of the Wastewater Treatment Facility and Main Street pump station has been approved by the Select Board at its May 20 meeting.

The contract is with Veolia Water North America and will span three years.

The total cost of the contract, which was approved at Town Meeting, came to $1,942,000 for the first year with estimates for $2,039,100 and $2,141,055 for years two and three respectively.

“Wastewater operators are at a premium right now,” Department of Public Works Director Eric Ryder said.

The department has had significant retirements within its staff, and job postings have been active for about a year and a half with no success.

“Working with [Executive Assistant Tom Gregory] informing the board that we were going out for an RFP [request for proposal] for contract operations for the treatment plant, we received vendors,” said Ryder.

After seven firms toured the facility, three companies submitted packages. The town went with Veolia because of cost and the fact that “they operate our sister plant in Gardner,” which is similar to Hudson’s plant, Ryder said.

“So they’re familiar with basically our plant. They have worked with our contractor,” he said.

The DPW currently has a contractor doing the wastewater phase two upgrade.

Due the depth in its operations, Veolia will work to make the plant run more efficiently, and the RFP will have savings for chemicals and other costs. The DPW is negotiating what the share that goes back to the town will be.

Ryder said, “They will bring in their expertise when they run into situations.”

He believed the contract will be a benefit to the Hudson community because of the larger buying power that Veolia has. He said they were a great firm to work with, and they would be coming in the next two to three weeks. They officially will begin service on July 1.

Currently, there is one licensed operator, Ryder said, who was a retired employee. There is a chief operator at the plant as well.

Ryder said, “He came back to work for us when we were short-staffed.”

Select Board member Steven Sharek asked how the $1.9 million budget compares to what they were paying for the plant operations. Ryder said it would be a $300,000 increase between the two numbers, but he was working with Gregory to cover that cost within the rate increase.

Ryder said, “We anticipated the 16% increase, and we’re going to be able to cover that.”

Other news

The Hometown Heroes banners have been installed on a portion of Main and Washington streets. Ryder said the forestry crew spent two and a half weeks and “did a phenomenal job.”

Select Board member Diane Bemis asked what the total number was, and Chair Scott Duplisea said it was about 100 with the second phase forthcoming with another hundred. Ryder said Lincoln Street was next.

Sharek said, “The Hometown Heroes signs looked tremendous.”

Duplisea spoke about the May 18 event on Saturday for the Hometown Heroes and how even though it rained hard, a good-sized group was in attendance to honor them.

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