Local News

Story published: 10-29-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Second part of wastewater project to cost $500,000 more than original estimate

By Kristen Swing
Executive Editor

The lowest bid for the second phase of an ongoing improvement project at Jonesborough’s wastewater treatment plant came in $500,000 higher than the projected cost of the work.

Most of the work in the Phase II portion of the project centers on the construction of a pump station at the plant that will deliver treated water to the Nolichucky River.

Town leaders expected the cost of the work to be around $1.36 million, but received four bids ranging from the low bid of $1.948 million to the high bid of $2.284 million.

By deducting the installation of diffusers and scraper blades in the plant’s existing basins, the low bid by Smith Contractors in Kentucky was reduced to $1.86 million.

“This is the final part of work at the plant that will get us to the river,” said Mayor Kelly Wolfe during the Oct. 21 meeting of the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Phase I of the multi-million-dollar improvement project included the expansion of the plant, including new, larger basins for treatment of wastewater.

Additionally, the construction of a 6-mile outfall line from the plant to the Nolichucky River is currently under way.

The improvements will allow the town to discharge its treated water into the Nolichucky River rather than Little Limestone Creek, essentially upping its permitted capacity from 500,000 gallons per day to 1 million gallons daily.

Interestingly, the highest bid for the Phase II work came from Judy Construction Co., the company that did all of the work in the first phase of the project.

“I thought Judy Construction being on site would have meant a lower bid, not the highest,” Wolfe said. “It seems they failed to see that logic.”

Town leaders voted to use the $1.361 million in available funding from a USDA Rural Development loan and Economic Development Administration grant funds to hire Smith Construction for the project.

They also approved using $258,000 that had been set aside for the construction of a new sewer pump station at Persimmon Ridge Park and roughly $242,000 from the project’s contingency funds to make up the $500,000 difference.

That leaves approximately $81,500 in contingency funding for the remainder of the project and no money designated for the pump station at Persimmon Ridge Park.

“The Persimmon Ridge pump station still has to be bid out,” Town Administrator Bob Browning said. “We haven’t gotten approval to bid it out yet.”

According to Browning, Rural Development leaders advised the town to proceed with the Phase II portion of the project using the funds for the sewer pump station.

When the town does bid out the sewer pump station, leaders will be able to tell just how much money they are short for the work.

The entire wastewater treatment plant improvement project is expected to cost nearly $10 million.