by Lisa Tome
When Lyn Dugger took office a little more than a month ago, she vowed to "learn fast".
Now Dugger, Rising Sun's water and sewer commissioner, is in the loop regarding work on Rising Sun's under construction $13.1 million orbital disk wastewater treatment plant. The groundbreaking for the facility was held in April 2012.
"I hadn't been there and didn't know where it (plant) was," said Dugger.
Dugger has a background in chemistry. She performed application engineering (liquid filtration) for W.L. Gore.
She is a chemist and has worked as a project manager and consultant at the Dupont Company.
"This project is requiring strong leadership. I'm trying to provide as much as I can," said Dugger.
Henry Robeson of Landisville, Pa. is the contractor, CDM Smith has taken over from RKK as the design engineer. The town also has to keep Maryland Department of the Environment in the loop since the town is under consent order for repeatedly violating state mandates for inflow and infiltration. USDA is also a partner since they are providing financing.
"I'm assessing the skill level with the different people and trying to see where we are," said Dugger.
Meetings are being held once a week. Monthly meetings with all the partners are also being held to update progress. “The percent complete depends on who you talk to. I don't have a good feel for that yet," said Dugger.
But what she has learned has proven costly to the town. So far, the town has been billed for work at a rate of $1,700 per day when work on the critical path of the project was not being completed. "The critical path work was shut down due to design issues. The redesign is underway. People are working, but not in the critical path," said Dugger.
That means a major slowdown of work that has to be completed in order to comply with a court order.
"I've said this is unacceptable. We need to get on the critical path. No one was making decisions. Calvin (town administrator Calvin Bonenberger) feels like the weight of it is on him. Maybe he was afraid to make a decision. I said 'if it is costing you money, make a decision'," said Dugger. "I'm working on it. In the last two weeks, we have made a lot of progress."
Dugger explained that her focus is moving forward, not looking back or laying blame.
"The sewer plant is exciting. I like science. If I didn't have a full time job (I'd be out there)," she said.
And although she is the water and sewer commissioner, so far, she has focussed on the water. She has been told that the town has suitable water resources to operate the plant.