Wastewater treatment plant cost of renovation lowered

Marietta City Council’s Water and Sewer Committee reviewed lowered costs of the wastewater treatment plant renovations Thursday.

“It’s not often you get to say your project cost less than anticipated,” said City Engineer Joe Tucker. “But in this case having (Pickering Associates Project Manager) Jim Wark keeping that close eye on what the needs are and what the contractors are performing has saved us more money.”

Tucker approached the committee for approval to close out Phase III, Scopes 2 and 3 of the renovations. Scope 4 is still in play, with anticipated completion this fall.

“Scopes 2 and 3 though were difficult because of the unknowns,” explained Tucker. “This was focused on the raw sewage pump station and the bypass pump… we had to address a wall that turned out to be in a lot worse shape than we anticipated.”

And yet, even with greater degradation in the aged plant than planned for, the $6 million project still came in under budget, he explained.

“We didn’t have to use all of our contracted funds or all of our contingency,” the engineer continued.

Total project cost was $6,029,866.51, $14,199.97 under budget and with $108,683.49 remaining in contingency.

Marietta City Council will vote on Thursday to deduct the remaining funds from the project cost and close out the project.

Loan repayment to the Ohio Water Development Authority will not begin until 2020.

Councilman Mike McCauley also informed fellow councilors that he would be scheduling a gas aggregation conference call in the upcoming weeks with council and the city’s gas and electric aggregation negotiator Tom Bellish, with Buckeye Energy Brokers.

Bellish negotiates the cost of deregulated generation or supplier charges for city electric and natural gas.

A new contract is negotiated for that supplier rate every two to three years and current rates with the current program for gas expire in October.

Safety-Service Director Jonathan Hupp and Assistant Safety-Service Director Bill Dauber explained Thursday that the current rates Bellish has an eye on for gas aggregation are already below the contracted rate the Washington County Commissioners approved this month.

“It’s a significant difference for the larger payers like the city, the hospital and the colleges,” explained Hupp.

Last week the commissioners approved a rate of $3.29 per thousand cubic feet of gas used (mcf) for the next three years, while the city’s current quote rests between $3.14 mcf and $3.13 mcf.

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