The City Council has voted to allow the city to set aside competitive bidding for a project that could cost as much as $1 million to repair a wastewater outfall in the Guemes Channel.
The project to replace part of the city’s wastewater outfall is so complex with a number of unknowns that the city has no real cost estimate other than the $1 million estimate that was reluctantly mentioned to the City Council at it’s Monday night meeting.
Assistant Public Works Director Matt Reynolds said the outfall pipe, "is cracked and effluent is escaping through cracks and joints. We don’t know how much. The treated effluent is not coming out in the right place, which is the end of the outfall."
The $1 million estimate came from a consultant, Reynolds said, adding, "But, I'm not sure I believe that."
He said the project takes place in a very complex marine environment and the condition of the existing structure is unknown.
The pipe was originally concrete, built in 1954, before the Port took ownership of the property. The pipe is in very poor condition. The actual outfall is plastic pipe, buried about 10 feet deep and some parts at a water depth of up to 30 feet.
In 1996, there was an attempt to shove a plastic (HDPE) pipe inside the old pipe, but that did not solve the problem, Reynolds said.
In the illustration above, it's the red section that needs replacing. North is to the right.
Because of the circumstances, the Public Works Department is recommending hiring a contractor to survey the area, draw up a plan, then complete the project, rather than hiring a low-bid contractor who could end up with numerous cost revisions as the project moved ahead.
Reynolds said, “There is a benefit in terms of controlling costs to have the people who are going to do the work involved with the design development.”
The Council approved a resolution allowing a non-bid contract. Reynolds will talk to contractors and negotiate a contract to bring back to City Council for their approval before work starts.