SYRACUSE — Judge David Cates will hear the case of the Town of Syracuse has against Triad Engineering and Severen Trent. Paperwork was filed in Kosciusko County Court May 1. A trial date has yet to be set.
The Town of Syracuse is seeking to have Severen Trent found in breach of contract with the town awarded damages caused by the breach and all other just relief. The town is also seeking to have Triad found in breach of contract and damages awarded because of that breach.
In the complaint Chris Janak, attorney for the town, lays out that Severen Trent was contracted to operate and manage Syracuse’s Waste Water Treatment Plant and coordinate all repairs and maintenance required to “So that effluent will meet the requirements of ‘Syracuse’s discharge permit and maintain close communications with appropriate representatives of IDEM.””
According to court documents, Severen Trent had Triad develop a project to repair and modify the waste water treatment plant. In May 2014 Triad representatives did a walk through of the plant and revised the scope of the proposed project.
Triad stated in a letter to Severen Trent it had “reviewed flow data and pollutant loadings and believe the plant is of sufficient capacity for existing average and peak flows….Possible exception is the ability to transfer oxygen in the aeration tanks. This will be addressed during final design and equipment specification preparation.”
In that same letter, Triad stated “since this project is basically a ‘maintenance project” it may not be necessary to submit plans and specifications to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for a construction permit.”
IDEM did not review or approve plans for the project. Triad told Severen Trent “that avoiding IDEM approval ‘can greatly shorten the time required to prepare documents and receive bids for improvements.'” Severen Trent later admitted the town should have been required to obtain a construction permit from IDEM.
Other problems including installing oxidation ditch aeration equipment that was too small because the project specifications included incorrect data and Triad used average flows rather than the waste water treatment plant’s rated capacity. When provided the correct data, the required equipment needed to be twice the size as what was installed to handle the actual influent amounts.
Severen Trent requested Triad that aeration equipment in the new digesters be the same equipment used in the oxidation ditches. However, nether Severen Trent or Triad did any sizing calculations to determine whether the equipment was the proper size. The digesters were three sizes too big and had to be replaced.
Other issues outlined in court documents include both Severen Trent and Triad not planning on how plant sledge production would be handled. The town spent tens of thousands on sludge removal.
A new sludge press was part of the plan, but not a new sludge belt conveyor. The old conveyor belt broke several times and a new one had to be ordered outside the scope of the project. A UV Channel was 1.1 feet to high and had to be corrected. Triad’s plan for installing the new UV Channel would have caused it to be structurally unsound and bond to fail.
Because of all the issues with the waste water treatment plant project Severen Trent stated “The waste water treatment plant is in violation of its discharge permit as a direct result of its operation.”
The town has had to hire another company to fix the problems at the waste water treatment plant.