Archbold, OH
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Council Okays No-Bid Contract For Commercial Diving Company

Archbold Village Council approved a rare no-bid contract to a commercial diving firm for repairs to the village reservoir intakes during its Monday, June 7 meeting.

Council agreed to pay Solomon Diving, Monroe, Mich., $61,454 to replace operating rods, guide bearings, gates, and screens on the water plant intakes.

Dennis Howell, Archbold village administrator, said gate valves on the intakes at the two reservoirs have been a concern for several years.

The equipment, installed in 1950 and 1956, has rusted, pitted, and is difficult to operate “even with a 36-inch pipe wrench,” Howell said.

This makes the equipment difficult and dangerous to operate in winter. In some cases, workers are afraid to try and operate the valves for fear of breaking them.

One local contractor estimated it would cost $50,000 to $65,000 just to drain the intake structures using conventional construction techniques. Only then would they begin to estimate repair costs.

Specialized Firm

Howell said Solomon Diving is a specialized firm that tackles difficult underwater repair issues.

The company has already been in town. Divers used high-pressure water jets to clean rust off some of the 60-year-old equipment, and found it badly corroded and pitted.

In some cases, Howell said, “it was ready to fall apart.”

To make repairs at Archbold, the company will replace carbon steel operating rods with stainless steel rods. The stainless parts cost an additional $4,000, but Howell said they “might last 50 years. It’s worth the money.”

Howell said the work is too dangerous for water plant workers to tackle, but Solo- mon diving crews specialize in this type of work.

While the village charter does require competitive bids for projects of this cost, Howell said the charter also allows village council to waive the competitive bidding requirement in special circumstances.

This is one of those circumstances, he said.

Other Work

While Solomon Diving offered to do some above-water work, Howell said he recommended retaining a local contractor to do the job.

The above-water project involves replacing iron hatch covers on top of the intakes with aluminum.

Howell said the iron hatch covers weigh about 150 pounds, and are difficult to open. Aluminum covers will be much lighter.

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