$8.58 million contract awarded for Aurora sewage plant upgrades

By Ken Lahmers
Special to the Aurora Advocate
Upgrades to the tune of almost $9 million will be made within the area outlined in red at Aurora's Central wastewater treatment plant. Access to the plant is from Route 306 off the left side of this map.

AURORA – The first phase of major improvements at the central wastewater treatment plant will begin soon now that City Council has awarded a contract worth $8.58 million to Cold Harbor Building Co. of Chardon.

The city received seven bids for the project. The contract, awarded March 22, is contingent upon obtaining a $5.5 million loan from the Water Pollution Control Load Fund administered by the Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance.

Confirmation of the WPCLF loan is expected by mid-April. If the loan goes through, the city would be responsible for paying $3.55 million from the sewer capital fund. The project is expected to take about 18 months.

According to City Engineer Justin Czekaj, Phase I involves replacement of an undersized holding tank that is failing and a new electric generator. A bigger tank will allow sludge to be processed and stored on site rather than being trucked to the Westerly plant or hauled to a landfill.

In association with the Central plant project, Council approved amending the original design contract with Stantec Consulting Services Inc. to perform construction administration services for not more than $470,000.

The original design contract was to cost nearly $1 million, but Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin said the scope of work was reduced, resulting in a significant savings.

Meanwhile, additional funding for another city project – the construction of a carport to shelter 13 police department vehicles – was approved by Council.

DS Architecture Design will receive $7,000 more to assist in the development of front-end specifications, bidding and contract development for the structure. Council previously awarded a $24,000 contract to the firm.


In association with the city’s traffic signalization upgrade, Council authorized paying FirstEnergy $39,948 for engineering so new traffic signal cables can be attached to power poles. Service Director Harry Stark said those expenses were not anticipated, and other fees may be incurred as the project continues.

The purchase of a Flyght submersible pump, as well as SCADA connection, maintenance and installation, were approved from Buckeye Pump for $53,834. The equipment will be installed at the Marketplace at Four Corners lift station.

“Buckeye is the only company in this area that sells Flyght pumps, and this is the brand that we utilize,” said Stark. “Current estimated delivery time is three months.”

After receiving nine proposals and interviewing three firms, Strand Associates was awarded a pact to develop a stormwater master plan for not more than $300,000. The base amount is $250,000, with $50,000 more set aside if needed.

H&M Landscaping Inc. landed a contract for 2021 turf and landscape bed maintenance at $53,961. The city has the option to renew for a second and/or third year.

Council adopted the Portage County multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plan, which must be updated every five years. Adoption renews the city’s eligibility to get FEMA mitigation funds such as those proposed for flood abatement in the Geauga Lake area.

Fire/parademic levy funds in the amount of $22,203 were appropriated to purchase firefighter turnout gear, as were $10,000 in capital improvement funds to purchase radios for the fire department. The money was left over from FEMA and MARCS federal and state grants, respectively.

Finance Director Tim Clymer reported auditors from James G. Zupka, CPA Inc. have begun field work for the city’s annual audit. “They will return to finalize the audit in May, and we expect to have their report by the beginning of June,” he said.

Council increased the amount paid to Zupka by $3,626 as a result of additional auditing services required because the city received more than $750,000 in grant money from the CARES Act and FEMA.

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