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Council to review plant contract change

Marietta City Council will review legislation for a contract change order in the design phase of the water treatment plant renovations and upgrades project next week following committee discussion Monday.

The project dates to discussions in 2018 upon determination of the use of reverse osmosis processes in the plant under the 2018-2019 council term when Joshua Schlicher, then the president of council, presided over the legislative body prior to election as mayor.

Preliminary planning, surveying and geotechnical investigations were then completed by the close of 2019, with a preliminary design report submitted in November of 2020 and with pilot testing following this past February.

“This project is well on track as a design and as a percent of construction costs, it’s one of the best projects we’ve ever had,” reviewed Professional Engineer Eric Lambert, a city project engineer, after the meeting. “I essentially put Strand Associates on a diet of 1,300 calories when the recommended caloric intake is 2,000. And they said that they’d try for it.”

Strand Associates is the design firm contracted to complete the project’s engineering services for a cost not to exceed $1,616,000 according to city documents dated April 28, 2021.

In a joint committee between Water and Sewer and that of Finance Monday, legislators discussed final design planning for the multi-year upgrade effort with an eye on 95-percent completion of designs estimated for Aug. 31.

Lambert described in tandem with Strand Associates’ Kris Ruggles during the meeting what the next steps in the design process are and proposed a request for a change order within the budget of the overall design, noting a remaining $37,000 of the approved $300,000 contingency within the design phase.

Ruggles explained that if the Aug. 31 deadline is met, the legislators could expect a wait time for response from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency through early winter this year, but otherwise would expect the public bidding to proceed through advertisement and awarding between October and December.

Lambert confirmed that at present the construction portion of the project is still estimated to cost approximately $18.3 million as indicated in council records, with a total project cost estimated for $22,323,013.

“What we’re working on right now is an Ohio Water Development Authority loan in the design phase, we’re anticipating rolling that loan into an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency loan after this,” he said.

Other aspects of the project including right-of-way acquisition and legal counsel for probate and imminent domain issues concerning water and sewer line construction from the plant were also discussed but no decision was reached Monday in committee.

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