Black & Veatch selected to help with water system conversion

Black & Veatch selected to help with water system conversion

DANNY HENLEY

Courier-Post Reporter

The Hannibal Board of Public Works (HBPW) has a partner to help it comply with the ammonia-eliminating stipulation contained in the Proposition 1 referendum that was approved by voters on April 4. During a special meeting Monday the HBPW Board approved an engineering services agreement with Black and Veatch Engineers (B&V).

B&V will now begin the process of conducting studies, compiling reports and producing the designs required to eliminate the use of ammonia in the city’s drinking water.

“Black and Veatch is highly qualified to carry all elements of this proposed project,” wrote Bob Stevenson, HBPW’s general manager, in a memo to the Board.

Also working in the engineering firm’s favor is its familiarity with Hannibal’s water system.

“They are already familiar with the specifics of our existing plant and distribution system. The work they have performed for us in the past, both at the Water Treatment Plant and the Waste Water Treatment Plant has been excellent and timely,” said Stevenson in his memo.

Other benefits to hiring B&V were also cited by Stevenson.

“The MoDNR (Missouri Department of Natural Resources) also knows and respects their work,” he said. “In addition, they have actual design and construction experience of large scale GAC (granular activated carbon) systems such as has been promoted for Hannibal.”

Because B&V’s proposal only arrived shortly before the start of the BPW Board’s April 18 meeting, board members decided to table the proposal until at least their May meeting. However, instead of waiting until the HBPW Board’s regular meeting date, scheduled on Tuesday, May 16, the decision was made to act during Monday’s special call meeting.

“Since that time (April 18) we have had a chance to review the details and have asked for a couple more modifications. One will have a significant effect on the price. They initially proposed the addition of a public relations sub-consultant. We have asked them to remove that cost since we can use our own staff for any public communications we need to do through this process,” said Stevenson.

The cost

B&V’s fee will be “about $220,000.” A cost in the neighborhood of $250,000 was presented during the BPW Board’s April 18 meeting.

Stevenson says B&V’s fee will represent “about 25 percent of the engineering costs for the complete project. The design and construction phase will consume the balance of the engineering budget and will be awarded after financing is approved sometime in 2019.”

According to Stevenson, the B&V “proposal would get us the engineering services that we need to take us up to the point of what they will call preliminary design, which means at the end of that point in the overall project we would know what we’re going to build, we would have DNR approval of what we were going to build, conceptually at least, and some engineer would be ready to start actual design work, laying out pipes, foundations and footings, all the stuff that we’ll need. This proposal gets us up to that point. It includes all the preliminary studies, reports, the approvals, the expediting of DNR involvement, everything we could think of that we’re going to need to make this go smoothly and timely.”

Proposition 1 gives the HBPW just 90 days to discontinue the use of chloramines — a mixture of chlorine and ammonia — and implement a new process that produces results acceptable to the MoDNR and Environmental Protection Agency. The HBPW estimates that converting to a new treatment process will take “four to five years.”

B&V was almost hired last year by the city to conduct a water system study to determine the cost of converting the current water disinfection system from one that utilizes ammonia to GAC. However, because the city wanted a “third party independent engineering firm,” and B&V had done work previously for the HBPW, Jacobs Engineering was ultimately hired to perform the city’s study.

“The Black & Veatch study kind of picks up where Jacobs left off,” said Stevenson last month.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com