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Plant upgrade to be reviewed

By Preston Knight -- pknight@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- The Town Council approved a value engineering analysis for the proposed upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant earlier this month that should equal savings in the long run on the approximately $25 million project.

The contract, which is not to exceed $72,840, is with a team from Anderson & Associates Inc. and R.H. Associates Inc. The analysis is required by the Department of Environmental Quality for projects that exceed $10 million, and Strasburg is seeking DEQ funds for its wastewater upgrade, Town Manager Judson Rex said.

The purpose of the study is to have a third-party engineer provide a fresh perspective to a proposal, cutting back on final costs, he said. In this case, Strasburg is working with engineer Malcolm Pirnie on the design of the wastewater facility, and depending on when the analysis is complete, the project could be advertised for construction bids by early next year.

Councilman Rick Redmon said that if the same analysis had been conducted with the new water plant, money could have been saved. Some elected officials have lamented at recent meetings how costs associated with that project have continued to increase as additional work has to be done.

"Things were not lined up," Redmon said.

Rex said it's difficult to say for sure that money would have been saved with the water plant, but, in general, cost-cutting is a goal of the value engineering analysis. And while the bid for the water plant was $11 million, he said an analysis was not required because DEQ money was not the funding source for that project. The water plant is about 85 percent complete, with a final date scheduled for Wednesday.

According to the wastewater analysis contract, the team will finish in 90 days after receiving notice to proceed. Among "value added" services provided will be to draft an anticipated sequence of construction to help mitigate uncertainty and risk by prospective bidders and contractors, it states, and review of the treatment processes and document alternatives considered in arriving at the final design.

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