The damaged truck scale at the Darien Refuse Disposal Area & Recycling Center is set for major repairs after the Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a $30,000 transfer for the project Monday.
In his transfer request, Director of Public Works Robert Steeger said the problem first registered when employees at the facility noticed "displacement of one corner of the deck plate whenever a vehicle moved across the scale."
Trucks using the transfer station pass through the scale before and after unloading waste in order to determine billing. When garbage is hauled away, rigs are also weighed to verify the amount owed by the town.
Though DPW initially thought the problem was minor and that it could be solved with additional welding, a representative from Emory Winslow Scale—which had installed the mechanism years earlier—determined during a June 8 inspection that a new deck plate would be needed.
"According to Emory Winslow, they recommended a concrete deck with a hydrostatic scale to CRRA [the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority] about 8 years ago," Steeger wrote. "CRRA opted for the scale that was installed at a substantially lower cost, knowing it would end up being the Town's problem when their contract expired."
"Although the scale is still operational, its days are limited and accuracy sometimes questionable," Steeger added.
The department investigated two repair options:
- A $29,334 replacement of the steel deck with "like materials," which would carry an estimated service life of eight years. Installation could be performed the day after delivery of the parts, but the bed would still be subject to damage from water, lightning, and power surges.
- A $73,610 installation of a concrete deck and hydrostatic scale, which would carry an estimated service life of 20 years. Installation would take a minimum of two weeks, but the bed is corrosion resistant and would carry a lifetime warranty against damage from water, lightning, power surges, and rodents.
Though the projected cost per service year was almost identical—$3,667 for the steel replacement versus $3,681 for the concrete bed—the department opted for the former solution due to lower upfront costs and minimal downtime for installation, Steeger wrote.
First Selectman Dave Campbell said Monday night that the department will no longer use salt on the scale during icy or snowy weather, as it has a corrosive effect on the bed.
According to Steeger, the scale tracks $1 million in expenditures and $640,000 in revenue to the town each year across thousands of transactions.