The Waverly City Council on Oct. 4 approved a pair of contracts with Cedar Falls companies to perform testing of materials in the old Water Department building next to City Hall.
The first was for an asbestos survey to be done by Terracon Consultants Inc. for an estimated time and materials cost of $4,575; the other by Black Hawk Roofing to take core samples of the building’s membrane roofing system for an estimated $250.
The council is considering what to do with the building, as all Public Works divisions will be under one roof at the Public Services and Emergency Response Center at 2900 Fifth Ave. NW once the current expansion project is complete. The Water Department building is located at 117 First St. NE.
The city will continue to utilize a portion of the building for control of the inflatable dam, and Waverly Utilities also will use it for hydroelectric generation. City officials are considering what to do with the rest of it, whether to lease it or something else.
In discussion of the roofing resolution, Ward 3 Councilman Rod Drenkow was fascinated by what Black Hawk Roofing would do.
“I find it interesting that they figure out how well the roof will keep out water by drilling holes in it,” Drenkow said to some chuckles.
City Engineer Mike Cherry said the city needs to know how the roof is layered.
“Some pieces will be sent off to be tested for asbestos,” Cherry added.
After Drenkow said he understood what was going on and he wanted to inject humor, Cherry noted it was good to ask why holes are being drilled in the roof.
“Part of it is to do the asbestos testing, because we anticipate removing it and replacing the membrane,” he said.
“They’ll patch it back,” City Administrator James Bronner quipped. “I promise.”
“A little chewing gum will work,” Drenkow joked.
Asbestos is a silicate material that is naturally occurring that is comprised of long and thin fibrous crystals that can be released into the air by abrasion and other processes. Until recently, asbestos had been commonly used for fireproofing in construction of buildings and ships, but with discoveries of its carcinogenic nature in the 1970s, the practice has stopped.
Since then, most governments and schools have been removing asbestos from their buildings, using a strict process prescribed by the Environmental Protection Agency for the proper handling and disposal of the material. The U.S. is the only industrialized country that has at least partially kept asbestos legal in certain products, but the EPA and Food and Drug Administration have gradually banned its use in construction materials and other uses.
The city plans to have plans and specifications for the refurbishing of the water building for bid by next April, with bidding commencing in May and construction timeline between July and December 2022.
According to an agenda memo for the project, the water building, which was built around 1915, is on a historic registry and should be preserved. Staff has identified several maintenance and structural issues that need to be fixed before the council can determine what can be done with it in the future.
In other business, the council approved the purchase of a new Ibak T66 sewer camera system for the Sewer Line Maintenance Department, which also includes a job trailer retrofit for a price tag of $77,221.
Cherry said the camera can detect the condition of the sewer pipes, which includes checking for blockages, cracks and/or tree roots.
“The pan and tilt of the camera can take a look at those issues,” he said.
The new camera replaces a 2008 Aries camera that the sewer department currently uses. Cherry believes the new system will have a similar 10-15-year lifespan that the Aries machine had.
He added that there are improvements in the technology in the camera, including 4K resolution and digital recording.
“Walmart didn’t carry it either,” Bronner quipped, referring to a discussion that was tabled two weeks prior about chairs for the airport. “We checked at Walmart; they didn’t have one.”