Modesto to borrow $2.7 million from MID to finish water treatment plant

04/09/2014 5:16 PM

04/09/2014 11:00 PM

Modesto will borrow $2.7  million from the Modesto Irrigation District to finish a costly expansion of the partners’ water treatment plant near Waterford.

Board members of MID, which owns and operates the plant, on Tuesday agreed to hire K.G. Walters Construction Co. to build a pipeline allowing water to bypass holding tanks under certain conditions. Reduced pumping will save big money on energy bills, hopefully covering the $3 million cost in about 10 years, reports say.

The project does not stem from filtration-related faulty design that delayed work for six years, pushed the expansion’s price $45 million higher and figures in an ongoing multimillion-dollar lawsuit between the partners. Although folded into the overall expansion, the pipe doesn’t fix botched work but is meant to save the city money in the long run.

The plant, fed by a canal from the Tuolumne River, opened in 1994. Modesto and MID agreed in 2005 to more than double plant capacity from 30 million gallons of water per day, in nondrought years, to 66 million gallons. The city mixes that with well water before sending it to Modesto taps, and also has water customers in Empire, Salida, Waterford, Hickman, Grayson, Del Rio, and small parts of Ceres and Turlock.

The expansion is expected to cost at least $107.5 million and finish next year.

“This is probably the last time we’ll have to do this for the water treatment plant, so this is a nice day,” said MID board Chairman Nick Blom.

Under terms approved by both agencies Tuesday, the city will repay MID over the next 10 years. Terms include MID granting the city a $231,910 energy rebate.

The partners’ legal dispute focuses on which agency is responsible for cost overruns associated with the bungled work. They recovered nearly $15 million from contractors in a legal settlement, but that’s not nearly enough to pay the entire bill.

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