The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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July 18, 2014

Authority takes action against consultant, contractor

HERMITAGE — Hermitage Municipal Authority last week authorized legal action against its consulting engineer and the general contractor concerning damage to two pieces of equipment installed during the recent expansion of the Hermitage Water Pollution Control Plant.

The authority authorized the filing of a writ of summons in Mercer County Common Pleas Court against consulting engineer Herbert, Rowland and Grubic, which has a Hermitage office, designer of the $32 million expansion of the plant on Broadway Avenue, and general contractor A.P. O’Horo of Youngstown.

The writ is notice that a legal action has commenced and is intended to satisfy the time frames set forth in the authority’s contracts with the companies, said authority Manager Tom Darby.

An actual complaint, listing the purported wrongs and allegedly violated laws, could be filed later, he said.

The parties will continue to try to resolve their differences outside of court, the authority said.

During testing of newly installed parts of the plant, a prefeed sequencing tank, essentially a holding tank for thickened sludge before it enters a digester, and one of the digesters were damaged, Darby said.

In the digesters, sludge is added with food waste and cooked to create a biogas that is burned to generate electricity that is sold to the electrical grid. The cooked sludge can be handled and used for fertilizer and fill.

The plant is producing electricity but the two functioning digesters have not been loaded to their full capacity, and have not yet produced any so called class-A sludge.

The damaged equipment has not been repaired, but the pre-feed tank still is operable and the plant as a whole is functioning properly and is compliant with state and federal requirements, the authority said.

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