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City quenches water demand: $3.08 million bid to expand ALP water plant accepted

Construction will begin this summer on an expansion project at the water treatment plant in the city of Alexandria.

Bids for the proposed project were accepted at Monday night's regular city council meeting.

Scott Deitz, operations manager at Alexandria Light and Power (ALP), made a recommendation to the council on behalf of ALP's board of directors to accept the low bid of $3.08 million from Di-Mar Construction out of Excelsior.

Deitz explained to council members and Alexandria Mayor Dan Ness that contractors were asked to bid two ways - the normal or conventional way by bonding for the money and also using economic stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The bids, which were opened last week, generated a lot of interest, said Deitz, who added that 11 bids were a good number. He also noted that all the contractors had their paperwork in order and delivered by the specified date.

Di-Mar Construction was the lowest bidder using the economic stimulus funds out of the 11 bids. If the stimulus alternative had not been considered, the low bid would have gone to American General Contractors.

By applying for economic stimulus funding however, Deitz noted that a portion of the loan - 20 percent - would come in the form of a grant.

And although there are provisions with the stimulus funding - applicants must agree to pay using the Bacon Davis Act prevailing wages and also abide by the "Buy American" provision - Deitz said it was well worth it.

He also noted that Di-Mar Construction has worked with this type of loan before and that even though it was a "paperwork nightmare," everyone got through it.

He said the ALP board didn't have any reservations about working with Di-Mar Construction.

Built in 1996, the water treatment plant is running up against its capacity in the peak summer demand periods, according to ALP officials. The expansion is expected to meet the city's water capacity through 2025.

ALP plans to complete the construction of the expansion by next summer and complete the renovation work by the fall of 2011.