Companies Compete to Build, Operate Wash. State Facility

Jan. 11, 2008
Contract for the facility could be work $80M-$100M over 20 years

CH2M Hill, Inc., and Veolia Water North America are competing to build and operate a planned $115 million wastewater treatment plant in Spokane County, Wash., according to the Spokane Journal of Business. The companies are each spending approximately $1 million on their proposals to design, construct and operate the facility under a contract that could be worth $80 million to $100 million over 20 years, the newspaper reported.

The companies are to submit their final proposals in March, according to David Moss, project manager with the county’s public works department.

Veolia Water and CH2M Hill were the only companies to respond to the county’s request for qualifications to design, build and run the proposed facility last year.

“They are very well-qualified companies, so we short-listed them both,” Moss said.

After the final proposals are submitted, the county will carry out internal reviews and visit projects the companies have done elsewhere, Moss said. The Washington state Department of Ecology also will examine the proposals to see if they will meet environmental regulations.

The winning proposal is scheduled to be announced in December, and construction is planned to start in 2009 and be completed in 2012, according to the newspaper.

Both companies are experienced in the construction and operation of municipal water and wastewater systems.

The water-quality standards the new plant will be required to meet will be especially stringent, according to Sean Haghighi, Veolia Water’s vice president of business development.

“The county is in uncharted waters,” Haghighi said. “The [required water-quality] levels have never been accomplished day in and day out.”

Moss said the initial discharge limits will be among the most stringent in the world when the plant comes online. For example, the limit for phosphorus discharges into the Spokane River will be 50 ppb in the summer, about a tenth of what is currently allowed, the newspaper reported.

Moss said that while the county will own the facility and hold the permits under which it will operate, they do not have the expertise to run such a sophisticated plant. It will be the contractor’s responsibility to employ technologies to meet the standards, Moss said.

“We’ve made constraints on how good it has to be, but we’re not fully prescriptive on how to get there,” Moss said.

Both companies are planning open houses to seek local subcontractors for the project.

The county currently pays nearly $5 million to the city annually for a 10-million gpd share of the city’s wastewater treatment capacity, according to the newspaper. The county will continue to send wastewater to the city’s plant after its own plant is completed, Moss said, but the new plant will allow the county to hook up new sewer customers for approximately 20 years before more capacity is needed.

Source: Spokane Journal of Business

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