Prudential Committee approves bid for Wareham water treatment plant
The Wareham Water Department Prudential Committee selected a bid from the Methuen Construction Company for the town’s new water treatment plant during its meeting on Thursday night.
The company’s base bid, which came in at $12,243,213, was approved by the Board of Water Commissioners earlier in the week. According to Wareham Water Department Superintendent Andrew Reid, construction on the plant will most likely begin in July.
“We’re very happy to moving forward,” Reid said. “It’s been a long process.”
The treatment plant was approved by voters back in April 2017 for $12.5 million to address high amounts of iron and manganese found in the town’s drinking water. Concerns were raised back in May of this year however when federal tariffs on steel and aluminum caused an unexpected hike in the price of materials needed to build the plant.
The design originally called for large sections of pipe which were only manufactured outside of the U.S. in the European Union and Canada. According to Reid, the initial construction bids for the project came back $2 to $2.5 million over budget, which was right in line with the proposed 25 percent tariff on steel.
“We ended up redesigning the plant in order to compete with the tariffs,” Reid said.
Now the water department must wait for approval of a low interest loan from the state, which would cover the plant’s construction costs. The loan would be paid back over a period of 20 years, though Reid said future rate increases may be required.
If the loan is approved, Reid said the Methuen Construction Company will receive a letter of award to begin work.
“We expect the process to move very quickly after that,” Reid said. “All of our contracts should be signed by June 30.”
Construction on the new water treatment plant is slated to take place over the next two years, finishing in 2020.