FLORENCE — Expansion and upgrade plans for the city’s Wilson Lake water treatment plant have been scaled back after bids for the work were much higher than anticipated.
City spokesman Phil Stevenson said bids for the work were almost $2 million more than budgeted for the improvements, forcing Water Department officials to go back to the drawing board.
Some of the work is mandatory because of new Environmental Protection Agency requirements, he said.
“We will rebid it,” Stevenson said. “We will meet the regulatory requirements if we get under construction this year.”
Mike Doyle, director of the Water Department, said they are starting over because so many specifications must be changed to meet budget constraints.
“We must redo the specifications and designs, and go through the advertising and bidding process again,” he said. “I don’t know when the new bid specs will go out — hopefully in June.”
Doyle said the city expected to spend about $10 million at the Wilson Lake plant, but the bids came in just under $12 million.
“There are some equipment and modifications to the settling basins that will be postponed, which is significant,” Doyle said. “We are looking at alternatives for seeking other funds that would help with energy efficiency. We will apply for TVA money for this that is administered by the state.”
The new EPA regulations require municipal water suppliers to more closely monitor and treat water during the chlorination process. A carcinogenic compound is being monitored and reported as a part of the new EPA regulations.
Doyle said Florence is in compliance with the new regulations, but getting the new modifications under way at the treatment plant will help the city remain in compliance. He said the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is working with Florence and all state water producers during the transition to newer equipment and processes.
Money for the work is from a bond issue earmarked for water treatment plant improvements, including major alterations to the aging Cypress Creek treatment plant.
Stevenson said other improvements slated for the Wilson Lake plant will be postponed until more money becomes available.
Robert Palmer can be reached at 256-740-5720 or robert.palmer@TimesDaily.com.