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Mineola’s New Meter Reading System Cheaper than Thought

Village anticipated to save $363,000 using wireless components in new water meter system.

The Village of Mineola will be getting a new water meter reader system for substantially less than what it originally thought after a bidder made several suggestions to streamline the system.

The village awarded a contract for the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system for the water department to Wire to Water for $226,435 at the October 17 village board meeting at the village hall. Superintendent of public works Tom Rini presented the board with a letter explaining that the company had taken “two exceptions” with the original plans of the village.

“We researched those exceptions, which did result in obviously the lower price if you look at the other bidders that had bid the next bid, there’s a difference of $363,000 in change with savings to the village,” Rini said.

One of the exceptions was the control radio and online antennae for the system. The designs called for the antenna to be on top of the elevated tank with a conduit coming down into the water department facility.

“The contractor found a better way quite honestly,” Rini said, explaining that the contractor suggested that instead of laying out 450 ft. of conduit and have to dig, bring it directly below into well-house No. 1 and then have wireless into the water department facility.

The second exception the contractor took was bringing the conduit down as the village had a crew to attach it to the legs and latticework of the elevated tank with welded brackets and having to repaint the legs of the elevated tank. “He has a different design on that,” Rini said, noting that the contractor suggested certain clips that could be used to maintain the conduit along the legs of the tank and bring it into the well house.

Rini stated that he was “very comfortable” with the contractor after meeting for two-and-a-half hours to review each facet of the project aside from the exceptions made because a, it’ll work and b, it’s a significant savings to the village.”

The contractor does not have experience installing the SCADA systems for at least 10 years – a requirement of the village’s bid – but has been installing parallel systems for Exxon-Mobil since 1999.

“We’re asking him to provide systems integration and PLCs that will control our valves and turning on pumps, turning off pumps, turning on chemical feeds, whereas in the petroleum industry, you’re doing the same,” Rini said. “You’re turning on valves to mix, you’re turning on pumps to move petroleum from tank to tank, things like that.”

Rini added that each part of the system has a manual override, including the radio system.

According to village attorney John Spellman, both exceptions were approved by the village’s engineering firm of Dvirka & Bartilucci, who noted that the Exxon-Mobil service was a parallel service that is comparable with the system that the village is seeking.

“In talking with the contractor, if we required him to lay out the 450 ft. of pipe and have to dig it and put it in the ground, based on his price he felt that having to do that for this price was going to push him out of it,” Rini said. “That’s why when he looked at it, he thought this was a better way and it would be cheaper and better for the village and it appears the research bears that out.”

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