By Sue Botos
Rocky River and the other cities sharing the Rocky River wastewater treatment plant will be paying a bit more for a chemical, which, in part, helps control the plant’s aromatic byproduct.
During a recent legislative session, City Council voted to enter into a contract with Kemira Water Solutions for the purchase of ferric chloride for $436 per ton, up from last year’s total of $297. The chemical is used to remove impurities from treated water and also serves as odor control.
The bid was the lower of two received by the city.
Ordinance sponsor Dave Furry explained that at the end of August, the city’s former supplier, Reserve Solutions, notified plant Superintendent Jeff Harrington that they could no longer supply ferric chloride. Since the plant then had to look at the open market for a new supplier, the price was higher. Although law Director Andy Bemer and special counsel David Matty are contemplating breach of contract action against Reserve Solutions, Furry said that naming of a new supplier was necessary for the plant to comply with state and federal EPA standards.
“We need to focus on this and not possible litigation,” Furry stated, adding that the city will be paying an additional $26,700 annually for the chemical. This amount reflects Rocky River’s 25 percent usage of the plant, which is also shared by Bay Village, Fairview Park and Westlake. The plant uses about 500 tons annually of ferric chloride.
“Partnering with others is easier said than done,” Furry commented, referring to the fact that neighboring plants use different chemicals and could not participate in any sort of purchasing consortium.
Harrington told West Life that the treatment plants in North Olmsted and Lakewood use sodium aluminate, and North Royalton uses ferrous chloride. He added that it would not be cost-effective for the Rocky River plant to switch to another chemical.
“Ferric chloride is a cleaner product. The system in the plant is designed around it. If we were to look at a different chemical it would be an involved process,” he commented. While both ferric and ferrous chloride are derived from the steel-making process, the latter is not as processed and is more acidic. It also does not control odor as well.
The city will continue to weigh its options when it come to purchase of the chemical. “We use about 500 tons of ferric chloride a year, and we will be doing more due diligence,” Furry added.