Wastewater photo - WEB ONLY

Laramie Water Treatment Plant supervisor Charles Claymore stands over the plant's oxidation ditch in 2017. The plant will be getting a new UV light disinfection system, which along with the oxidation system, helps treat the water for microorganisms. 

After more than 20 years of disinfecting and neutralizing microorganisms in Laramie’s wastewater, the Laramie Water Treatment Plant is replacing its UV disinfection system.

The Laramie City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to pay the $579,000 needed to replace the system, awarding the bid to Wyoming company Lillard and Clark.

The system is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Environmental Quality. The UV lights are used in the treatment of wastewater for disinfection.

“As the water passes by the UV lights, microorganisms that are remaining become neutralized,” said interim Public Works director Brooks Webb during the meeting.

Webb explained the manufacturer of the city’s current system will no longer be able to maintain it “because technology has advanced so far that they can’t support it.”

The city solicited bids in May and awarded the bid to Wyoming-based Lillard and Clark, despite a Colorado company Velocity Constructors, Inc. coming in with a cheaper bid at just over $565,000.

Wyoming state statute requires a 5% preference for instate contractors, and the Colorado company’s bid fell within the required percentage to qualify for the statute’s requirements.

Both companies “have a lot of experience in the treatment of wastewater and the UV” systems, Webb said.

“It doesn’t come up very often — these systems last 20-30 years — but … throughout the county there’s a lot of replacements happening right now because 20 years ago, 30 years ago, it was a new technology,” Webb said during the meeting.

Councilman Brian Harrington asked if the new system would help with energy efficiency as the city is undergoing an energy efficiency audit.

Features in the new system include light dimming capabilities to match the flow of water, which saves energy and bulb lifespan, Webb said.

“That technology they say basically can save up to 30% energy savings, which is significant for the plant out there,” Webb said. “I did some rough calculations, and if we realize that 30%, we’re looking at savings of around $288,000 over that 20-year period.”

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