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The Richmond City Council took a gamble on Tuesday night, betting that voters will give approval on a bond issue in August to reconstruct and expand the South Wastewater Plant.
The council voted unanimously to approve the signing of two deals with Olsson and Associates engineering firm to begin work on the plant.
During negotiations, engineers pitched a two-plan approach to addressing the issues at the plant. They said the hill located on the west side of the south end of the plant needs to be stabilized before expansion of the plant can begin. Engineer Jeff Thorn said the north train of the plant’s system will have to be completely shut down and the plant will have to rely only on the south train. Thorn said they want to make sure the south end is stable before moving on.
“We can’t do anything with that north train until we get that south train stabilized,” Thorn told the council at a meeting earlier this month. “That dirt is sliding and quite literally mounding up on itself at the bottom. It’s not wasted effort. It’s something we have to do.”
Thorn said once stabilized, the south end will be finished and ready to be put back into service. He said the north train is the system that needs to be replaced. The expansion will also include doubling the size of the lagoon.
The first contract entered with Ollson is to provide a preliminary site plan. The plan is necessary to take to a ballot issue and to get initial approval from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The contract says the city will pay Ollson and Associates $50,000 for the preliminary engineering plan. The contract says that $20,000 will be due upon presentation of an invoice and the remaining $30,000 is due within 30 calendar days of the passage of a bond or Nov. 30, 2009, or whichever comes first.
The deal gives a rough timeframe of April 2011 for final completion of construction to the plant. If a bond is passed, the engineers will complete the final engineering plan and will oversee construction. The final cost of engineering will be a percentage of the total cost. Rough estimates for total cost are around $6 million.
If the city fails to pass a bond, the city will still be on the hook for the $50,000.
The second deal struck with the city is for the engineering of the stabilization project.
Total engineering costs for the project are $34,600. The deal says the city will be billed on a monthly basis. It also says the design work will be complete and ready to bid by the August vote.
The city will also attach regulation upgrades for the city’s north sewer plant to the bond issue as well. The city has been instructed by DNR to make the upgrades within three years. Estimates for the upgrades vary between $500,000 and $1.5 million.