Pasco city council discusses bids for water reuse facility

By Michelle Dupler, Tri-City HeraldFebruary 5, 2013 

Taking bids in winter for a project upgrading and expanding Pasco's process water reuse facility resulted in about a 15 percent savings over bids received during the summer, said city officials Monday.

Ahmad Qayoumi, the city's Public Works director, told the city council that the project originally was advertised for construction during the summer of 2012, but all of the bids came in higher than what the city budgeted.

Those bids were rejected, the project design was modified and the city solicited bids a second time in December and January.

This time the lowest bid came in almost $400,000 below the engineer's estimate, Qayoumi said. The low bid was for just more than $2 million. The engineer's estimate was $2.4 million.

"Fifteen percent on $2 million is a nice savings," Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Francik said.

The savings were just icing on a cake that won't cost Pasco a dime to begin with, since the entire project cost will be covered by the food processing companies that benefit from the water reuse facility.

The facility, near Highway 395 and Foster Wells Road, collects 600 million to 800 million gallons of water that food processors use to wash vegetables. The water is pumped to a large lagoon, treated, and then sprayed on 14 city-owned farm circles leased to growers.

The goal is to increase the capacity of the current process water reuse facility by 20 percent per year, allowing the food processors to expand their operations.

City Manager Gary Crutchfield said the city will issue bonds to cover the cost of construction, but will collect enough money from the food processors to cover the bond payments without any subsidy from the city.

The water reuse facility drew four or five major food processing companies to Pasco that might not otherwise have located in the city, he said.

"That represents about $150 million in investment that wouldn't be here without the facility," Crutchfield said.

The presence of those food processors also represents about $300,000 per year in property tax collections, he said.

The expansion and upgrade project involves construction of about 4,300 linear feet of pressure sewer pipes and construction of a wastewater fine screenings facility, sedimentation basin and solids handling pump station.

The council voted unanimously to award the $2 million construction contract to Pasco-based Culbert Construction Inc.

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