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Dear Paul, You don't have the scope of a complete acid neutralization system in your deliberations yet. Acid waste piping, generally installed widely in every laboratory using chemicals, drains to a central acid neutralization tank in the basement. An acid neutralization tank and acid waste drainage pipes from laboratories may be required by the building code in your town or state. You need to find out about any regulations on this issue before considering the under-sink tanks.
Acid neutralization tanks require maintenance, inspections wherever they are installed and no matter the size. With only 5 under-sink (small) tanks there will be only 5 locations in the entire facility where lab occupants can pour acids down a sink for neutralization and discharge into the general waste drainage system of the building.
You haven't described the size of the OM College facility in terms of number of laboratories, number of students, construction bid, or any other quantitative parameter; it's hard to assume anything. If there are only 5 laboratories in the facility, maybe the under-sink tanks would be feasible. Otherwise acids, as well as other chemicals must be collected at each laboratory sink and go through the satellite waste accumulation site and other DOT/EPA regs for disposal.
If the savings of the "value-engineering option is $213,000, please consider the life of the building and possible inconvenience and regulatory liability your OM College may inherit with this decision. With value-engineering options, the owner can say "No" to the contractor and "Find that $$ elsewhere." Good Luck!
Janet Baum, AIA