ATWATER -- The Atwater City Council is moving forward with the development of the municipality's new wastewater treatment plant, a multimillion-dollar project that's been described by city officials as possibly the biggest the town will ever take on.
During Monday's meeting, the council unanimously approved a call for bids on pipelines that will carry raw wastewater to the plant.
The work will cost between $8 million and $10 million, said City Engineer Joe Hollstein.
The project includes installing about 60,000 feet of 24-inch ductile iron pipe, 1,935 feet of 48-inch effluent discharge pipe, about 240,000 square feet of road repaving and other miscellaneous work, according to a report by Hollstein.
If the council awards a contract in early November, construction can start by Dec. 1 and be completed by Dec. 31 -- if the weather cooperates, according to the report.
The city has the money to pay for the pipelines, but officials are still looking into various ways to fund it, Hollstein said. There's still a possibility of grants.
The council also approved an amendment Monday to an existing contract for $384,000 with Veolia Water West Operating Services for the design and implementation of the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System, which includes all computerized automated equipment that will let the plant operate.
Councilman Nelson Crabb voted against the contract amendment because of the cost.
Originally, Veolia put the SCADA system in at the old wastewater plant at no charge to the city, he said. However, the city did have to extend its contract with the company. "It's unexpected in a sense that we didn't pay anything for it before," Crabb said.
There have been improvements in technology since the last SCADA system was installed. "More than $300,000 -- that's got to be a lot of new technology," Crabb said.
However, the cost of the project is justified by its necessity, he added.
It's unfortunate that the city has to spend so much money when the economy is in recovery mode, but the project was state-mandated and the city had to meet new water standards, Crabb said. If the city hadn't done anything, there could have been large fines.
"We had to take action because the clock was ticking," he explained.
The fines could have been substantial had the city not been proactive, said Assistant City Manager Stan Feathers. The repercussions of not complying can be costly and would have been a bigger expense in the long run.
The city broke ground earlier this year on the $60 million treatment plant. Its expected completion date is Feb. 7, 2013.
Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.