The Pierre City Commission, during its July 9 meeting, unanimously approved a company combination to work on the city’s new drinking water treatment plant project.
Requests for qualifications were announced back in late April. Three proposals were received by the deadline of mid-June. Interviews were held by the city on July 1.
“Projects like this are not done very often,” said Gidget Palmer, with the city of Pierre’s engineering/planning. “PKG Contracting, based out of Fargo, North Dakota, has familiarity with such projects. Scull Construction Service, based out of Rapid City, has familiarity with South Dakota laws, rules, and regulations. They will work together, as such expertise allows in the partnership.”
Palmer added that two out-of-area companies teaming together in a Construction Manager at Risk capacity should not necessarily leave local businesses out of the project. “Once we get PKG Contracting and Scull Construction Service on board, we hope to end up with a lot of local involvement.” Though nothing is guaranteed on what companies will get the contracts, there may be around 50 sub-contractor packages involved in the project.
The city has received a $36.85 million loan to help pay for the construction of the water treatment plant, as well as its operation and maintenance. It will be paid back by city water customers. The loan comes through the state Board of Water and Natural Resources. The grants and loans awarded by the board are administered through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
According to city-supplied information, Pierre’s water is currently gotten from a series of wells throughout the city. Water is treated at the wellhead and pumped to reservoir storage units for further distribution. The city’s water department pumps and treats up to 5.5 million gallons of water each day.
Though the city of Pierre’s current water supply meets all federal and state safe drinking water standards, a community survey resulted in the majority of respondents believing the city should construct a water treatment facility to combat the high mineral content found in Pierre’s current water supply. AE2S, an engineering consulting firm, recommended a more than $37 million water treatment plant just south of the Missouri River highway bridge. A public vote in June 2018 passed with 73% in favor of the new facility.
It has been estimated that, with a new water treatment plant, residential users would pay $0.0023 more per gallon. The monthly increase depends on the amount of water used by the customer. Estimates show an average of $1 a day to a typical residential municipal water account. The rate increase would be used to pay back a 30-year loan used to build the facility, as well as ongoing maintenance and operation costs. Water rates include a base charge and a volumetric charge (charge per unit of water used). Based on a customer using 6,000 gallons per month, the new single family monthly cost would be approximately $51 per month. For the same volume of water used, Mid-Dakota’s (competitor water source) residential cost (2018) would be approximately $69 per month.
According to Brooke Bohnenkamp with the city of Pierre, some of the next items for the city commission will be addressed at the July 16 meeting.
Negotiations for the Drinking Water Treatment Facility Construction Manager at Risk recommendation (or maybe during some other future meeting)
E911 Surcharge Ordinance update
Merchant Security Ordinance update
Water Rate Ordinance update