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SAWS gets favorable bid on water treatment plant upgrades

SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Area Water Supply Joint Powers Board received a favorable bid from Fletcher Construction, a local company, to conduct conventional upgrades to the Big Goose and Sheridan Water Treatment plants. Board members discussed the upgrades at a rescheduled, regular meeting Tuesday evening.

According to Dan Roberts, public utilities director for the city of Sheridan, the bid from Fletcher Construction came in at $4,238,300, which was significantly less than the engineer’s estimate of $5,004,000 to perform two phases of upgrades to address the presence of E. coli and cryptosporidium in the county’s water.

The city and SAWS will share the cost of the project.

The bid also included the installation of enclosures for blowers that will use air blown from filter beds to more efficiently clean filters in the treatment plants. Though the blowers are optional and won’t directly impact bacteria in the water supply, Roberts said all modern water treatment plants include blowers. He said Sheridan’s water treatment plants are a bit archaic and should be improved while the upgrades are completed.

Sheridan Mayor Dave Kinskey was reluctant to spend nearly $1 million on an optional upgrade until county Planner Mark Reid reminded the board that 50 percent of the cost of the station upgrades will be forgiven. That option for principal forgiveness may not exist within a year or two, Reid said.

Funding for the conventional treatment upgrades will be considered by the Sheridan City Council at its meeting April 1.

The SAWS board also discussed the status of booster station upgrades on 20 existing pump stations. Rod Liesinger, county public works director, said staff has met with the Department of Environmental Quality to discuss options since installing alternative power sources at each pump station could cost up to $1.8 million to complete.

Liesinger said it appears SAWS was granted a variance 20 years ago. The DEQ said staff should submit a formal request for another variance before the end of March.

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