LIVERMORE FALLS – Mark Holt, the sewer superintendent of Jay and Livermore Falls received approval at the July 2 Livermore Falls Select Board meeting to spend up to $6,500 to purchase a piece of equipment necessary for the Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

“This is kind of a crucial piece of equipment that is on its last leg at the [Livermore Falls Wastewater] Treatment Plant,” he said. “This piece of lab equipment we need for our required testing.” 

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the equipment is used for Biochemical Oxygen Demand [BOD] samples, a method of measuring the amount of oxygen consumed by the bacteria of decomposed organic matter. This procedure is necessary to protect the surrounding bodies of water from pollution. 

Holt said that the equipment holds a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius over a five-day incubation period until taken out to test, which occurs between two and four times a week. He reported that in the past they had tried to use an apartment sized refrigerator with a box inside to regulate the temperature, but that the boxes cost $6oo to $800 and only last about a year.  

Holt came to the Select Board to ask for up to $6,500 from the Joint Sewer Reserve account to purchase a real BOD incubator meant to sustain 20 degrees Celsius as it runs continuously at the plant.  

According to the USA Blue Book, BOD incubators control the climate of storage samples in a highly stable fashion using a mechanical convection system and Proportional, Integral, Derivative [PID] temperature controllers.  

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Holt said that the USA Blue Book catalogs the price somewhere between $3,500 and $6,500. He said he reached out to a friend of his at Fisher Thermal Scientific, and is in contact with Jim Wilke, a local representative of Wilkem Scientific. Holt is waiting for a price quote from them, but he is confident he can find a BOD incubator for $6,500 or less. “I would rather deal with them,” he said. “Because then I will have somebody to service the units if we have a problem with them.” 

Chairman William Kenniston asked how long the new equipment is expected to last. Holt quoted him 10 to 12 years based on his research. He is still searching for information on warranties and looking for the best deal. 

Vice Chair Jim Long asked if the equipment can self-monitor and communicate outages. Holt ensured that there will be an alarm system, but that he is unsure whether it could be hooked up to a larger electronic system or if it will just be an audible alarm in the plant. He reported that at the treatment plant they are required to check and manually record the temperature every day by DEP regulation to ensure it is at 20 degrees Celsius, plus or minus 0.5 degrees.  

Holt said this is an urgent matter as the Wastewater Treatment Plant has an inspection on July 11, and he hopes to have the new incubator in place before then. 

The Select Board unanimously approved the request. 

Holt will now need to present this request to the Jay Select Board in order to receive the money from the Joint Sewer Reserve Account.

The plant, which is owned and operated by Livermore Falls, serves sewer users in Livermore Falls and Jay. The two towns are splitting costs of upgrades to the plant at an estimated $21 million when it is completed in 2026.

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