January 25, 2012 | LXXI, No. 43

City awards arsenic plant contract

Clearwater Construction of Spokane has won the bid to build Electric City’s arsenic treatment plant.

That company’s bid of $1,310,985, was about $15,000 under the second-place bid placed by Halme Construction of Davenport.

The city’s engineering firm, Gray & Osborne, sifted through 14 bids and recommended to the city council that Clearwater’s bid be accepted. The council Tuesday night readily agreed.

All 14 bids were within about $200,000 of each other.

The Clearwater bid was over half a million dollars under the engineer’s estimate of $1.87 million for the work, and shows how competitive the bids were.

“We expected some low bids due to the present business climate,” Mayor Jerry Sands stated.

The bid opening was last Wednesday, and Clearwater Construction will have 120 days to complete the work after receiving a notice to proceed.

The third lowest bid by Apollo, Inc., of Kennewick, about $30,000 over the low bid.

The project includes construction of a concrete backwash storage tank, installation of two skid-mounted arsenic treatment filter trains, chemical feed systems, associated piping, electrical and telemetry in a new metal building.

The city was caught in a bind when federal permissible thresholds for arsenic standards for water were reduced from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion.

The city regularly measures 13-17 parts of arsenic to a billion parts of water.

The city made an effort to draw an exemption since the overage is so small, but agencies that control water standards said no, and the citizens of Electric City are faced with increased water rates to pay for the plant.

Currently, water users are paying a base of $26 a month for water and this is expected to peak at about $44 a month, Mayor Sands said, with incremental changes in July each year.

The city was given time to put together its arsenic treatment plan and agencies seemed happy as long as the plan was progressing.

The city has a low-interest-rate, 20-year loan from a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to pay for the work, approved for more than $2.5 million in 2010.

Electric City is still negotiating with Grand Coulee on what part it will pay, if anything, for the costof putting in the plant. Grand Coulee uses more than 65 percent of the water that Electric City pumps from its wells.

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