A company that plans to land apply sludge could save the city of Union a big chunk of money.

The Union Board of Aldermen approved a contract Monday night with Oros and Busch Applications Technologies, Inc., Carlinville, Ill., for the removal and disposal of the city’s sanitary sewer sludge.

The deal will cost the city $57,400 and was by far the lowest of the two bids the city received for the work.

The other bid came from Merrell Brothers, St. Louis, for $114,315.

Union City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said the difference in bid prices came down to processing. Oros and Busch was able to bid so low because it intends to land apply the sludge.

The city has two wastewater treatments plants, one located at 671 S. Highway 47 and the other at 1999 Denmark Road. Both plants produce sludge that needs to be disposed of in a safe and Missouri Department of Natural Resources-approved manner.

Zimmermann said the Highway 47 plant requires less frequent hauling, but the Denmark Road plant needs regular shipments out.

Because of the regularity of the shipments, Oros and Busch can land apply the sludge. Using the sludge as fertilizer is a DNR-approved method for disposal.

Merrell Brothers was going to haul and process the sludge, leading to an increased cost.

Zimmermann said Oros and Busch said it intends to land apply the sludge and will pass the savings from not having to buy fertilizer to the city.

The city of Washington land applies its sludge. The city hauls the sludge to nearby farms and works to get the sludge properly applied.

Zimmermann said Union isn’t in a position to do its own hauling or land application.

“We don’t have any of the equipment, we don’t have the land, we just cannot do it,” he said. “So we pay somebody to haul it off and they have to document it.”

The contract was approved 7-0 at Monday’s meeting. The bids were first presented at the Oct. 1 personnel, finance and public works committee meeting.

Zimmermann told the committee before the contract could be approved, he needed to be sure Oros and Busch could haul year-round.

Monday night he said the hauling wouldn’t be a problem and gave a thumbs-up to moving the deal forward.