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Published: Friday, 7/16/2004

Council panel OKs $2M hike for sewer line redesign

A Toledo City Council committee approved a $2 million increase yesterday in the management contract on a $450 million sewer reconstruction project.

The increase was required, in part, because the new Point Place sewer line had to be redesigned, said Robert Williams, director of the Toledo Waterways Initiative. Black & Veatch Corp. of Kansas City, Mo., signed a 15-year, $35 million contract in August, 2002, to design and manage the court-ordered sewer reconstruction. Mr. Williams said the original plans for a 15,000-foot pipeline to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows called for gravity flow to the Bayview Wastewater Treatment Plant. Later studies showed that two pump stations were needed.

Robert Stevenson, director of the city's public utilities department, said Black & Veatch's original proposal for gravity flow was found to be unworkable. He said Black & Veatch shared in the cost overrun by reducing its overhead. In addition, Black & Veatch ran up additional engineering fees of $1.59 million, for work done at the city's request, to change the planned location of two major facilities at the treatment plant on North Summit Street.

The original plan was to install a 60-million-gallon equalization basin in privately owned Harrison Marina and a "ballast and flocculation" facility, which aids in removing solids from wastewater, in the city-owned ship mooring basin. The new plan is to build both on part of the city-owned Bay View Retirees Golf Course, taking three of the 12 holes. Mr. Williams said moving the facilities would save the city $5.3 million. To offset the $3 million in new engineering fees, about $1 million in cuts were made elsewhere in the Black & Veatch contract.

The sewer reconstruction is the result of a federal court settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which sued Toledo in 1991 over dumping of raw sewage into the Maumee and Ottawa rivers.

Council's environment committee recommended approval of the contract amendment. It now moves to the floor of council for final approval.

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