An extra $400,000 will be required to build a wastewater lift station in Wellesley Park after the tender bid on the project came in higher than expected due to supply costs.
The project will abandon the Churchill and Valley View lift stations — located on opposite ends of Wellesley Street on the southeast side of Moose Jaw — and replace them with a single new lift station that would service the entire area. This would reduce the number of lift stations the municipality operates to 14 from 15.
During the June 28 regular council meeting, city council voted unanimously to transfer the $400,000 to the Wellesley Park lift station project from the wastewater treatment plant (WTP) upgrades (blower replacement) project. Council also agreed to award the construction contract to Suer and Pollon Mechanical Partnership.
The project budget was $1.75 million. However, with Suer and Pollon’s bid, along with change orders and contingency funding, the project price increased to $2.12 million, leaving a deficit of $391,826.16.
An engineering report in 2019 identified deficiencies with the Valley View lift station and estimated the remaining life of each lift station, a city council report explained. The report also rated the Churchill structure as poor and Valley View structure as fair.
“Two lift stations servicing such a small area is redundant. These stations cause several operational issues including insufficient submergence at the intake and insufficient capacity,” the report continued, adding the closeness of the lift stations forces the pumps to cycle too often.
The new manhole-style lift station — to feature a minimal above-ground structure — is expected to save roughly $25,000 per year in operational and maintenance costs.
The tender for the project closed on May 27, with Suer and Pollon submitting a total bid of $1,835,029.60, higher than the anticipated bids of $1.43 million to $1.66 million, said the council report. Associated Engineering reviewed the application and determined that market conditions for purchasing polyvinyl chloride pipe and unforeseen risks with a high-water table caused higher than normal bid results.
“These market conditions are consistent with other similar projects in the past few months,” noted the report.
Pulling $400,000 from the WTP blower replacement program to address the deficit will not — should not — affect the delivery of that program, Bevan Harlton, director of engineering services, told council during the meeting. He thought the recommendation to approve the additional funding was strong and would allow the department to complete the work.
It’s important to remember that when Associated Engineering reviewed the bid, it pointed out that market conditions caused the price increase, said Coun. Heather Eby. Council has known about this issue for a while, based on the increased cost of other municipal projects and how frustrated some residents have been constructing decks.
“It’s a sign of the times,” she added.
Coun. Jamey Logan was concerned that the project design drawing seemed to indicate open excavations during the installation of pipes. He was also worried that the work went directly under or near Highway 2 and could force its shutdown.
With the way the project is situated and where the pipes will be installed, work crews will not be anywhere near the highway, replied Harlton.
The next regular council meeting is Monday, July 12.