The Watertown Public Works Commission approved a biogas utilization study with Symbiont, Inc. for $14,925, against a budgeted amount of $15,000, during its meeting on Jan. 22.

"The study is to determine feasibility and opportunities to better utilize the biogas from the anaerobic digestion process used at the waste water treatment facility," according to the minutes submitted by Alderman Tim Raether. "Possibilities may exist to provide direct substitutes for natural gas as a transportation fuel in compressed natural gas vehicles or conditioned into biomethane which could be injected into the natural gas supply grid and its associated cost savings."

The Watertown Common Council will consider this as a resolution at their next meeting Feb. 5.

The commission approved a contract with Refrigerant Depot to include all white goods with the disposal and recycling of freon products during its meeting on Jan. 22.

This will also go to the common council as a resolution.

Water Systems Manager Peter Hartz updated the commission on plans to replace a back-up anaerobic digester boiler. Several internal heat tubes are broken, and repair parts are no longer in production and parts on this unit are no longer supported by the manufacturer, according to the minutes.

"The costs of replacement items identified was in excess of $80,000 with a budgeted amount of $65,000 for repair," Raether said.

The plan is to get quotes for a new boiler.

Commission members approved a quote from Ruekert & Mielke for $21,870 to perform a storm water utility rate and best practices study. This funding is available in a storm water utility account and the common council will review this as a resolution.

The commission approved a contract change order for the 2019 Annual Street Design with Robert E. Lee & Associates, Inc. to include an additional quote of $3,450 to another sum of about $6,700. Raether said the additional cost is to allow an additional 53 Storm Sewer Manhole As-Built Survey reviews to be performed.

The commission also reviewed the 2019 Street Program which included reconstruction, resurfacing, wedge and seal coat, and crack sealing and seal coating streets. Raether said Alderman Kurt Larsen asked the city's engineering department to review a block between Mary and Clark streets to discover if it could be included in the program.

City engineer Jaynellen Holloway will need to contact the Wisconsin DOT regarding complaints to a commission member about the North Second Street bridge lights being too bright.

"They feel that this additional brightness of the lighting is intrusive to their home's windows and backyards that face the bridge lights," Raether said. "The committee agrees that there is a noticeable increase in the brightness of the new lights. A few items were suggested such as replacing with lower wattage bulbs or replace diffuser panels with a darker material on the back side of the lamps."

The Wisconsin DOT controls the design of the bridge and Holloway will see if any changes can be made to address this issue.

Hartz presented the commission with the 2018 water bill write-off of dead accounts, which were added to their respective property tax bills.

"Dead accounts will now be collected as a part of the property tax bill payments. This process occurs annually as required," Raether said, adding this was approved by the commission.

The commission also recommended reducing the equivalent residential units from eight to five on the property of Hayes Automotive due to a removal of buildings.

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