Bid battle underway over sewer plant |

Bid battle underway over sewer plant

A dispute between two contractors seeking work on the North Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant could increase the cost by another $76,000.

On Thursday, commissioners must decide which of two companies was the actual low bidder for the $9 million project.

KG Walters is challenging the bid award to Farr Construction based on the timing of Farr’s bond.

Circumstances could be worse for the project that has seen cost estimates soar over the past two years. The third bidder, Q&D Construction, was a $1 million more than KG Walters.

County commissioners are scheduled to discuss the bid challenge at their meeting on Thursday. The bid award has been delayed three times so far by a variety of issues.

The engineers estimate on the project was $8.6 million, 5.6 percent lower than the lowest bid, according to county engineer Nick Charles.

The bid protest centers on when Farr obtained its unlimited bond.

According to KG Walters, Farr did not have sufficient bonding when bids were opened Nov. 17.

The challenging firm says that state law requires the bond to be in place at the time of the bid, and that the bid isn’t valid.

Farr sought a higher bid limit from the Nevada Contractors Board, which approved the request but included a condition that wasn’t met until after the bid date, according to KG Walters’ attorney.

Farr’s attorneys argue that the condition was completed in the 30 days required by the contractor’s board.

Complicating the issue further, Farr argues that because the project includes federal funding, federal law allows the contractor to have its qualifications in place prior to award of the contract, which occurred on Dec. 12, 2017.

Should commissioners decide on the bid protest, they still have to decide whether to finish funding the project with $1.2 million in capital reserves.

The county has $10.39 million to complete the project, thanks to funding from the state revolving fund, $2.7 million in redevelopment money and a block grant.

Additional costs include $355,315 to Keller Associates for project and construction management. Lumos & Associates and CH2M Hill, the consultant who did the needs study, also have contracts for discussion on Thursday.

Hill is also up for a $394,000 contract to work on the hardware and software for the plant. The company would integrate the plant into the county’s supervisory control and data acquisition system to allow for remote monitoring and alarm notification.

The total work is expected to add up to $11.6 million, including $528,000 in contingency funds.

According to a report prepared by CH2M Hill, the plant can continue to meet its permitted discharge requirements until the annual average flow exceeds its licensed 300,000 gallons a day. The plant treats an average of 254,000 gallons of sewage per day.

Built in 1988 to serve the industrial areas around Minden-Tahoe Airport, the plant was originally built to treat 125,000 gallons a day.

Sewer ponds and the plant were the subject of $1 million in work in 2007. Additional $400,000 in work on the plant was approved last year as a result of damage done in earlier storms.

Most Valley residents are served by the Minden-Gardnerville Sanitation District, which serves the two towns and the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District. Indian Hills General Improvement District provides sewer to its residents.