Effluent force main bids higher than expected
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]
The Harrison County Regional Sewer District opened bids for an effluent force main replacement project at the Berkshire Wastewater Treatment Plant east of New Salisbury during its meeting Sept. 17.
This project went out for bid after the board realized it was going to take longer than anticipated to find and receive funding for an entire treatment plant expansion project. The lowest bid for the project was Love Excavating at $223,717, followed by Cornell Harbison Excavating at $238,410, Dan Cristiani Excavating at $251,298 and Temple & Temple Excavating and Paving at $288,650.
The bids, which were taken under advisement, are being held for up to 90 days by the board as it intends to approach the county governing bodies to request funding for this project before determining which company it will select.
Bob Woosley of Heritage Engineering said he hopes that the county governing bodies will consider using funds from the American Rescue Plan received to help fund the expansion project at a later date.
He also noted that, if the sewer board was to be accepted for state revolving funds in the 2022 application process, funds could possibly be repaid to the county if the loan is secured. However, in order to continue the build outs of property in the area, moving forward with replacing the effluent force main, what the sewer district is considering Phase 1 of the expansion, is vital.
Woosley also explained that in his budgeting process for the expansions he evaluated if there would be any rate increase if the effluent force main was purchased at $200,000, and there would not be. However, all the bids were higher than that number, but Woosley was “nearly certain” that the rates would still stay the same.
The sewer district is beginning to see more connections being paid at new private developments in the area, with 13 at Kepley Fields at New Salisbury and 14 at Poplar Trace west of Corydon. With these connections and potential homebuyers, however, comes a lot of locating calls for the district.
Steve Tolliver, the system operator, explained to board president Tom Tucker that anytime a homeowner needs to build a fence or do things that could potentially harm a sewer line, the district must do a locate call.
The district has been fielding the costs for these fees for customers up to this point, but, due to the influx lately, Tucker said he would be interested in charging customers for locator calls as a part of the connection fee in the future.
Woosley agreed with Tucker, saying this was a “legitimate expense” that wasn’t a problem for the district’s budget two years ago but is now.
Tucker suggested a $500 raise for future connection fees.
The district’s attorney, Chris Byrd, said he would have to amend the district’s current ordinance and bring this back to Tucker at a later date.
The district’s next scheduled meeting will be Friday, Oct. 15, at 8:30 a.m. at the Harrison County Community Foundation building in Corydon.