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City rejects wastewater treatment plant bids

The City of Sunnyside has formally reopened the bidding process for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.

The city opened four bids on June 9 from different Northwest firms, said Sunnyside Public Works Director Jim Bridges. For a couple of different reasons, the bids were rejected.

"We just felt it was in the best interest of the residents (to reject the bids)," said Bridges.

Bridges couldn't offer much other detail on why the bids were rejected. But one of the reasons could have been the cost.

The city has a price tag of roughly $14.7 million, said Bridges. But the bids that were submitted to the city for the project were between $14.9 and $15.8 million, not including tax, said Bridges.

The city has reopened the bids and will not be accepting proposals until July 14. Bridges is anticipating making a recommendation to award the bid shortly thereafter.

Sunnyside is under a court-ordered mandate to make improvements to the wastewater treatment plant for a number of different reasons, including the quality of discharge going into a nearby drain that is delivered into the Yakima River.

One major portion of the project will be building a new state of the art operations center at the plant. Other portions of the project include refurbishing the two existing primary clarifiers at the plant. Bridges said currently the city only uses one of the clarifiers at the plant. Having two of them operational will ensure the facility keeps operational in case something out of the ordinary happens. The project will also consist of constructing an ultraviolet light disinfection system, which will result in the city not having to use chlorine to treat waste.

Capacity at the wastewater treatment center is not an issue, said Bridges. The city has the ability to handle 7.9 million gallons running through the facility each day. Currently, the plant only runs between 1.2 to 1.4 million gallons per day.

Bridges is optimistic that the next round of bids will work in the city's favor.

Construction on the wastewater treatment plant is expected to begin in mid-to-late September. The improvements to the plant must be completed no later than March 2, 2007.

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