Lewis & Clark will build treatment plant in phases

Lewis & Clark will build treatment plant in phases
The board of directors of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System is taking a new approach to make its new water treatment plant, destined to be constructed in Clay County, a reality.

Instead of building the entire treatment facility all at once, the board has agreed to piece it together in phases.

The board voted Dec. 20 to begin preparing bidding documents for Phase 1 of the water treatment plant near Vermillion. Phase 1 will include high service pumps, clear wells and an electrical building. The estimated cost of this initial construction is estimated at $26 million.

It is anticipated the contract, which represents about 20 percent of the plant, will be awarded in the summer of 2008. The rest of the treatment plant will be built in multiple phases.

Troy Larson, executive director of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System, stressed Wednesday that no final decisions have been made on the number, timing or scope of the other phases.

"What we had originally planned to do was to build the plant as one project," Larson said, "and the reason for that was to build the plant as cost effectively as possible, meaning if you build something in one shot as opposed to phases it costs less."

The board had to scuttle those plans, however, after receiving a low bid of $142.4 million for the 45 million gallon a day (MGD) treatment plant. Engineers estimated the facility would cost $98.5 million without contingencies. Without the funding to pay for the plant over the three year construction schedule, Lewis & Clark rejected the bids on Oct 25.

"The decision was made to proceed by dividing the plant construction into phases," Larson said, "so that we could better pay for the project because that extended over a longer period of time, thus we get the advantage of more years of federal funding.

"It also delays building all the capacity up front, so it puts off some of the costs up to 2012," he said, explaining that Lewis & Clark wants to begin delivering treated water in that year.

Larson said Phase 2 of the treatment plant construction, estimated to cost $90 million,

is tentatively planned to be bid in 2009.

This will include the main treatment plant and the capacity to treat 30 million gallons of water per day.

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