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Commissioners, council discuss jail maintenance

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Clay County Justice Center has some gunk in the pipes.

During a joint work session between the Clay County Commissioners and the Clay County Council, a discussion was conducted about the condition of the pipes at the Justice Center and a possible renewal of a maintenance contract.

Jeff Chamberlain, Maintenance Sales Account Representative for Havel, Indianapolis, explained that the piping system at the Clay County Justice Center is beginning to rust and presented a preliminary proposal for flushing and chemically treating the system.

"The mix of (ethylene) glycol was not correct in the system and it is beginning to also plug up the coils," Chamberlain said. "It is causing the pipes to work harder, which is also increasing the energy costs."

Ethylene glycol is similar to antifreeze and is commonly used in air conditioning systems, but is part of both the heating and cooling systems at the Justice Center.

In the current system, when the water leaks or evaporates within the system, it is replaced with more water, diluting the mix with the glycol. Chamberlain said the typical mix is 35 percent glycol, but recent tests of the system showed the mix to have only about 20 percent glycol.

He added the problems have been caught in enough time to fix them, and bigger problems could have arisen if they had not been found.

"It is affecting both the boilers and chillers and the cost to replace a compressor and chiller could be at least $50,000, but that is not necessary at this time," Chamberlain said. "The cost of this project would be $15,000 at the highest."

He added the project would be to flush and treat the system, along with installing either a manual or automatic filler.

"The automatic filler works on differential pressure and would add more glycol when it is needed," Havel Operations Manager Jerry Thornton said. "It would provide added protection from potential freezing of pipes."

Chamberlain elaborated on the problem, likening the system to that of arteries.

"The strainer is beginning to clog, backing up the rust and junk into the system," he said. "I'm trying to do what I can to keep a heart attack from happening."

He also said he would be willing to add the cost of the project to the cost of renewing the current maintenance contract, which is $20,000 and paid on a quarterly basis.

"I know the county, like many other areas, is under a money crunch, and this would spread the cost throughout the year rather than having to be paid upfront," Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain said he would present formal proposals for both the automatic and manual filler at the December meeting of the Clay County Commissioners and described how long the project would take.

"It would take about a week to fully flush and treat the system, and the heating system would have to be shut down to complete it," he said.

With winter coming soon, there was concern about shutting down the system for a week as the weather becomes colder. However, Chamberlain said the cooling system could be done in January and the heating system in the spring without the problems becoming much worse.

In a separate meeting prior to the work session, the Commissioners reviewed quotes to replace a bridge in Bowling Green.

A total of four quotes were received, but the Commissioners decided to take them under advisement in order to give closer consideration to the scope of work included in each quote.

The quotes will be on the agenda at the December meeting.

The next regular meeting of the Clay County Commissioners will be Monday, Dec. 1, at 9 a.m., in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.

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call me crazy, but did they just rush into that new jail. Seems like there has been an awful lot of problems that are costing big dollars to repair, If the mixture of the system wasnt right doesnt that mean whoever set this up didnt do there job correct so lets pay 15,000 for a patch for what a year or more before it will cost 50.000 to fix. Can tell there not spending there own money.

-- Posted by kd323 on Fri, Nov 21, 2008, at 11:12 PM

Personally, I think that the original HVAC company that installed this system should be contacted ~ is there a warranty on this system that should be explored ~ no doubt it needs to be repaired but what about reprecussions to the initial installer; they were paid good money to do a satisfactory job not for a system that needs significant maintenance at this point.

-- Posted by karebabe on Sat, Nov 22, 2008, at 8:10 AM

RE: The Justice Center:

Sounds like "snake oil" to me. Get a second opinion.......

-- Posted by localman on Sat, Nov 22, 2008, at 5:08 PM

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