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Angels sewer plant bids over estimates

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It´s going to cost a little more than originally estimated to expand the Angels Camp sewage treatment plant, but city officials said they can cover the expense.

The City Council unanimously awarded the job April 20 to Pacific Mechanical Corp. of Concord, which submitted the low bid of $6.34 million.

When that´s combined with engineering, legal and administrative costs for the Phase II expansion project, it brings the total price tag to about $8 million, City Engineer Gary Ghio said.

Angels Camp is getting $6.6 million in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the project, leaving a shortfall of about $1.4 million.

City Administrator Tim Shearer outlined a number of scenarios to cover the extra cost. “We´ve got the money, and it shouldn´t be a problem paying it all from the wastewater (fund),” Shearer said.

That fund alone has about $1 million that can be put to the added cost, Shearer said.

The city also allocates about $44,000 a month to relieve the debt for Phase I of the project. When the annual payment of $300,000 is deducted from that, it leaves some additional funds that might be used for Phase II.

Even if the project runs into expensive change orders or more restrictive quality standards from the state, Shearer said, the city could always make an internal loan, borrowing money from the water treatment fund for the sewer plant project.

That would be treated just like any type of loan, with a payment schedule and interest fees, Shearer said. Shearer was hoping that would not be necessary. “I think we can avoid that,” he said.

The Phase I project expanded the plant´s capacity and upgraded the treatment system to meet tougher state standards.

Phase II will expand capacity again, from 400,000 gallons per day to 600,000 gpd.

While city officials were optimistic they could meet this cost, Ghio cautioned the council that when this is completed, the city will have to apply for a new operating permit, and that could open up all sorts of new requirements from the state.

The city used a “pre-qualified” bidding system this time, meaning bids were requested from a select list of contractors. Bids were sought from 11 firms, Ghio said. Five requested packages and three responded. The second lowest bid came from C.W. Roen Construction Co. of Livermore for just under $7 million.

Construction is expected to begin by June and last about 18 months.

Calaveras Enterprise story by Craig Koscho. For more Calaveras news, click: