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Engineering firm picked for wastewater treatment plant design

The price tag is rather hefty, but the Sunnyside City Council opted to move forward this past Monday night with the hiring of an engineering firm to complete the design of upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant.

Council approved the hiring of CH2M Hill Engineering of Kennewick to complete the design phase for the upgrade of the wastewater treatment plant. The cost of the design project is $1.78 million.

City Engineer Jim Bridges said hiring CH2M Hill is a crucial step for the city. He explained by having a design in place, the city will be more competitive when applying for funds. Bridges said the hiring of the engineer will also help the city clear up any miscommunications with the Department of Ecology (DOE) about what upgrades are needed for the wastewater treatment plant. Bridges said CH2M Hill will work with the city on meeting compliance with regulations established by DOE.

The cost of the upgrade to the Sunnyside wastewater treatment plant, which must be completed by April 2007, is an estimated $11.3 million.

Councilman Don Vlieger was concerned about spending nearly $2 million for what he felt amounted to nothing more than a set of drawings.

Bridges assured Vlieger and the rest of Council that what the city is getting for its dollars is much more than just a set of drawings. What CH2M Hill is doing will not only address immediate questions about what upgrades are needed for the wastewater treatment plant, but it will also help the city address future needs, said Bridges.

City Manager Bob Stockwell added that during the interview phase for hiring an engineer for this project, CH2M Hill brought the most innovative design to the table for the wastewater treatment plant upgrade. CH2M Hill was chosen by city staff for the wastewater treatment plant upgrade design project from seven different engineering firms.

"The drawings are the cheapest things they produce," said Stockwell.

Bridges said the city is looking at a November 2004 or May 2005 deadline to apply for state funding to finance the upgrades at the wastewater treatment plant.

"We are going to work closely with CH2M Hill to make sure we are getting what we paid for," said Bridges.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

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