The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 13, 2012

Hennessey officials eye cost of new water treatment plant

By James Neal, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

HENNESSEY, Okla. — Town officials are looking for ways to reduce the cost of a new wastewater treatment system, required to replace a system that does not meet state environmental standards.

Oklahoma Water Resources Board announced last month Hennessey would receive a $1.8 million low-interest state loan to expand its wastewater treatment system, needed to comply with current standards set by Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Hennessey obtained an engineer’s estimate for the project, which put the price tag at more than $1.5 million.

When bids came back this month, town officials found the contractors’ costs were considerably higher than the engineer’s estimate.

Only two companies entered bids on the project: Reed Dozing and Contracting, for $1,784,400; and Downey Contracting for $2,397,355.

Hennessey town administrator Tiffany Tillman said the town board determined Thursday night in its regular meeting not to award a contract on the job, but to instead look for ways to reduce the project cost and go back out for new bids.

Hennessey public works director Curtis Turner said part of the issue with the first round of bids was there weren’t enough contractors willing to submit proposals.

He said seven or eight qualified contractors picked up bid packets, but only two submitted bids.

“We were a little disappointed in only getting two bidders,” Turner said. “We think with some revisions in there we might have more bidders, so we’re going to make some changes and then we’ll go back out for bids again.”

Turner said the town hopes to cut about $200,000 off the cost of the project, advertise for new bids and open bids again in November.

Turner said the town is working with the project engineer to find areas where costs could be cut.

According to an OWRB press release, Hennessey’s current sanitary sewer system serves 835 customers, and the sewage treatment operation was last upgraded eight years ago.

The town routes its sewage to a four-cell, flow-through lagoon system on the west side of town. The facility can treat 228,000 gallons of wastewater each day, according to OWRB, and the treated effluent is discharged into Narragansett Creek, a tributary of Turkey Creek.

When the city’s Pollutant Discharge Elimination permit limit was modified five years ago, it contained limits that are stricter than the sewage lagoons are capable of providing, OWRB reported. Hennessey was ordered by DEQ to comply with the more stringent effluent discharge limits.

The engineering plan for the new system proposes to convert the current flow-through lagoon system into a total-retention lagoon system with land application of the treated waste.

According to OWRB records, the project will feature construction of two new sewage treatment lagoons adjacent to the existing cells. Each of the new lagoons will have a surface area of 7.16 acres and a maximum volume of 21.3 million gallons, project engineers reported to OWRB. An irrigation system will be installed to spray treated effluent onto 116 acres of land.

An OWRB press release indicated the improvements are “expected to provide Hennessey with adequate sewage treatment capacity for several more years,” and to “eliminate the non-compliant effluent discharges into Narragansett Creek.”