Sun, Feb 16, 2020
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Willapa Harbor Herald • Town Crier
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Bids expected soon for new Toledo sewer plant

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Toledo should have a clearer idea of what it may cost to build their new sewer plant as contractors are expected to submit their bids on Thursday afternoon.

Bidding time will open and close at 2 p.m. and estimates are expected to come from such companies as Pacific Crest Construction, Tapani Underground, Prospect Construction, SSC Construction and Columbia Pacific, among others. Engineering firm Gray & Osborne has estimated the cost of the new plant at around $9.6 million, but they have stated bids could certainly come in at a lesser figure.

Representatives from prospective contractors, along with several subcontractors, were given a walkthrough of the city’s current lagoon system on Feb. 4 and shown where the new oxidation ditch is expected to be installed, as well as a new pump station and access road.

Toledo Public Works Superintendent Craig McCown explained the new plant is to be built on the site of the first of three lagoons at the old plant, and is expected to occupy about half of the area the current lagoon takes up. He added the other two lagoons, once they have been dried out and cleaned, will hopefully be converted into community-oriented facilities.

"Down the line, we really would like to use these for recreational purposes," he said, stating a bike park, running trail and fishing pond are all being considered as possibilities.

But the new plant needs to be constructed first, which McCown said will take around a year-and-a-half, adding it may be another six months before the facility is online.

Once operational, the old plant will be decommissioned entirely, though it will continue to run throughout construction, with McCown stating he does not expect any interruptions in sewer services.

McCown added the new plant will also adhere to stricter quality standards, requiring daily testing rather than the less-regular tests performed at the current plant. He said it is unclear if these new requirements will mean a need for greater personnel in his department, but said that is an option he will be prepared to entertain after the new plant has been up and running.

"That’s three years out, so we’re not really worried at this point," he said.

Once the bids are submitted, City Clerk Michelle Whitten said Gray & Osborne will then review the bids to ensure they are free from errors, either procedural or mathematical, while checking to see if the contractors are properly licensed and bonded, and are capable of performing the tasks described in the engineering report. A lowest qualified bidder will then be presented to the Toledo City Council March 3 for confirmation, and plans will then be put in place to break ground later this year.

The total cost of the project is expected to be primarily covered by $6.4 million in state and county grants, with remaining costs to come from an up-to $9.1 million Public Works Trust Fund Loan, $900,000 of which has been used for engineering services.

"This is a good thing for the community," said McCown, who touted oxidation ditch technology as time-tested and proven, adding the new plant will allow for growth within Toledo.

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