OSCODA – The Oscoda Township Board of Trustees approved two different improvement projects during their regular board meeting on Feb. 8.

The first is part of the capital improvement plan for Old Orchard Park and includes the purchase of two new 40-gallon commercial water heaters for two of the campground’s bath houses. 

According to Park Manager Al Apsitis, the on-demand water heaters they currently use in those bath houses are not as cost-effective or reliable as the ones he is proposing. The park has been keeping track of the propane usage in the different bath houses, which have different water heating systems, and the on-demand heaters were driving up the costs. 

“The on-demand heaters we have in the bathhouse, they were just giving us troubles over the years, they would always break when they were needed the most,” Apsitis said. “We replaced Bath house No. 2 with these and we have not had one problem with them. It keeps up with demand and everything even when we’re full.” 

Apsitis requested the board approve the purchase of one furnace and two water heaters from Tommark in the amount of $4,544.68. Trustee Bill Palmer made the motion to approve the purchase, with a second from Treasurer Jaimie McGuire. The motion passed unanimously.

Another item the board approved was to select the company UIS SCADA Inc. to begin the integration of SCADA software into the township’s pump stations.

This integration is part of the sanitary sewer pump rehabilitation project funded through a state revolving fund, according to Dave Richmond with ROWE Engineering. SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, he explained to board members. The software is essentially an updated way for F & V Operations and the township public works department to control the pump stations remotely.

“Currently the pump stations are on an alarm system and a light, and if it doesn’t happen to get noticed or heard they wont know if there’s an issue with the pump station,” Richmond said.

But with the SCADA technology installed on the control panels of the pump stations and using cellular data to send information, FVOP and DPW workers will be able to monitor the pump activity via mobile devices and respond if something isn’t running properly. 

“If we have a wet weather situation, they’re gonna be able to control it remotely. Once one end of the system is showing a lot higher flows, they can regulate flows to make sure it doesn’t cause issues upstream or downstream,” Richmond said. 

ROWE and FVOP solicited proposals from four different companies that do SCADA integration, and decided to go with UIS SCADA Inc. But some trustees were concerned about the annual service fees that they would be forced to pay to keep the system in operation. 

“I love my technology, I’m sure everybody knows that, but I try to be frugal on expenditures and if this is going to be a recurring fee for the township, I mean we’ve got 20-some-odd lift stations and we’re basically going to have to pay for a cell phone at every one of them for this equipment to communicate back to the software so people can be notified?” Trustee Jeremy Spencer asked.

“For the 23 stations we’d be servicing, after the first year their yearly service fee would be $9,385 and that includes all the cellular service,” Richmond said.

Still, the board decided to move forward with the integration using UIS. Trustee Steven Wusterbarth made the motion to approve, with support from Trustee Tim Cummings. It passed unanimously.

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