Brunswick County receives two bids for Northwest Water Treatment Plant advanced water treatment and expansion project

03.18.2020

Brunswick County receives two bids for Northwest Water Treatment Plant advanced water treatment and expansion project

MEDIA RELEASE

BOLIVIA, N.C. – Brunswick County received two bids from qualified contractors Tuesday for a major project to bring a low-pressure reverse osmosis water treatment system to the County’s largest water treatment plant.

All of Brunswick County’s water customers and wholesale water customers receive either all or a part of their water supply from the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. For the past two years, the County has proactively worked toward expanding capacity at the plant and installing an advanced water treatment system to remove regulated and unregulated per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances including GenX that are present in the Cape Fear River primarily due to contamination from the Chemours Fayetteville Works facility.

The following contractors submitted bids:

  • Oscar Renda
    • Base Bid (provide five reverse osmosis systems): $108,945,500
    • Bid alternate No. 1 (provide eight reverse osmosis systems): Add $5,000,000
    • Bid alternate No. 2 (provide four reverse osmosis systems): Deduct $1,200,000
    • Bid alternate No. 3 (early reverse osmosis completion): Add $1,200,000
    • *Bid alternate No. 4 (deduct all reverse osmosis systems): Deduct $10,800,000
  • Ulliman Shutte
    • Base Bid (provide five reverse osmosis systems) $142,367,000
    • Bid alternate No. 1 (provide eight reverse osmosis systems): Add $7,210,000
    • Bid alternate No. 2 (provide four reverse osmosis systems): Deduct $1,730,000
    • Bid alternate No. 3 (early reverse osmosis completion): Add $5,750,000
    • *Bid alternate No. 4 (deduct all reverse osmosis systems): Deduct $30,900,000

Each bid alternate has a different scope and timeline to provide flexibility with concern to cost. Each bid alternate establishes deadlines for operational use of the conventional treatment expansion, for operational use of the advanced low-pressure reverse osmosis system, and for final completion of all work. The earliest projected date that customers could start receiving reverse osmosis-treated water is November 2022 and the latest estimated date is May 2023.

More information about the bid alternate options is available under the Northwest Water Treatment Plant’s frequently asked questions (FAQ) section at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/genx/

The original bid date occurred on March 5 but there was an insufficient number of bidders to award the project. The project re-bid occurred on Tuesday, March 17. The County already received six bids for the concentrate discharge pipeline project associated with the expansion and upgrades project March 5.  The apparent low bidder on the pipeline project was TA Loving Company at a cost of $6,595,000. The engineer’s construction estimate for both projects totaled $117 million.

Next steps

The Board of Commissioners will have final authority in deciding which bid alternate to pursue. County Administration and Public Utilities staff will review the bid alternates in the coming weeks to make a recommendation(s) to present to the Board or to determine if another invitation to bid should be issued. It is anticipated that staff will present the recommendation(s) to the Board for their decision and potential approval at a regularly scheduled meeting in April or May. (Note: Brunswick County is monitoring the novel coronavirus situation and will communicate any decisions concerning meeting schedules as they are made.)

“This project is of paramount importance to the County and to our customers, so we will be working diligently to review these bids and make the best recommendations for our commissioners to consider in the coming weeks,” County Manager Randell Woodruff said. “I appreciate our team’s tremendous efforts to reach this important step in the project’s timeline, and we will keep our residents informed of our progress.”

Brunswick County received its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in February following a nearly two-year application and review process. This permit is necessary to install a low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the plant and allows the County and the Commissioners to fully consider all of the bid alternates in their decision-making process.

The County also received its authorization to construct (ATC) permit from the DEQ in February, which will allow the Board to issue a notice to proceed with construction, which is expected to take place in May following the approval of the bids.

About the Northwest Water Treatment Plant project

Since June 2017, Brunswick County has conducted voluntary weekly tests of its raw and treated water at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant to measure and track the presence of PFAS compounds in the water. While all samples have fallen below established health advisories for GenX and PFOA + PFOS (two PFAS compounds), the low-pressure reverse osmosis system will ensure that the County’s water customers are receiving drinking water treated with the most protective method possible and will meet the requirements for any future health advisories that are likely to be established in the future.

As the fastest growing county in the state and the fourth fastest growing county in the country, having access to a sustainable water supply is crucial. The Cape Fear River is the only water source in the region that can support the county’s current year-round population of nearly 135,000 people along with the multitude of summer visitors and the projected demands for water due to continuous residential, commercial and industrial growth in Brunswick County.

To meet these anticipated needs, the project will also expand the conventional treatment at the plant from 24 million gallons per day to 45 million gallons per day with a peak low-pressure reverse osmosis treatment capacity of up to 41 million gallons per day.

Details on health information and the County’s efforts to hold contaminators accountable

Brunswick County has joined other utilities in the region to sue DuPont and Chemours to make Chemours stop polluting our primary source of drinking water. The County is also seeking monetary damages from Chemours to hold it responsible for the millions of dollars the County is spending to install a new treatment system to counteract the contaminants it wrongfully discharged into the Cape Fear River.

The County relies on the authority and research of federal and state agencies like the EPA, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and DEQ to find answers to questions concerning PFAS’ health and environmental effects and to hold Chemours and other contaminators accountable for polluting the County’s drinking water source. These agencies often have more access to certain financial and informational resources that local governments and public utilities typically do not.

More information about the Northwest Water Treatment Plant project, water sample test results, and water quality is on the County’s website at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/genx/

Additional websites to learn more about PFAS and who to contact for toxicology or epidemiology questions are also posted below.

-30-

For media inquiries, contact the Public Information Officer at 910.253.2995 or email meagan.kascsak@brunswickcountync.gov

* Note: Bid alternate No. 4 for the project only includes the work for expansion of the conventional treatment process. Brunswick County’s leadership remains committed to installing a low-pressure reverse osmosis system at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant. This is not an option the County is actively pursuing.