Archer Western given contract for FPUD treatment plant upgrades

Archer Western Contractors was awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of the Fallbrook Public Utility District’s wastewater treatment plant.

A 4-0 FPUD board vote May 29, with Milt Davies absent, approved Archer Western’s $25,507,000 bid contingent upon Archer Western meeting FPUD and state requirements and additional funding being secured.

“We’re very pleased with the move to actually letting the construction contract,” said FPUD general manager Brian Brady.

The rehabilitation will increase the treatment plant’s reliability and improve compliance with regulatory requirements. The upgrades will also allow for storage of recycled water, and a new dechlorination facility will ensure compliance with FPUD’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued last year by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

“The wastewater treatment plant hasn’t been rehabilitated since the late 80s and these improvements are sorely needed,” Brady said.

FPUD has obtained a loan from the State Water Resources Control Board for the upgrades. The $22,154,148 State Revolving Fund loan will be paid back over a 20-year period at an interest rate of approximately 2.5 percent. The loan covers oversight and other administrative costs as well as the construction itself. The loan amount was based on the engineer’s estimate of a $23.5 million construction cost.

FPUD will be considering a capital improvement charge of $2 per equivalent dwelling unit during the 2013-14 budget process. That would allow the loan amount to be increased to $28.7 million, and FPUD’s discussions with the State Water Resources Control Board have indicated that the additional loan will be approved should the capital improvement charge be included in the upcoming budget. The interest rate might also be reduced to 2.2 percent according to FPUD.

In an effort to ensure that bidders were qualified for the size and scope of the project FPUD staff advertised for contractors to complete a prequalification application and received 13 such applications. Nine of those contractors met the previously-approved criteria and were sent the final design documents. Archer Western had the lowest of the four bids received by the May 7 bid opening date.

FPUD expects construction to begin this summer. The construction is expected to take approximately 2 1/2 years.

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