Comment

Last year the cost of the project was in the $22M range, now I hear it is + $30M. What happened to $22M?

Response

The detailed explanation was laid out in a technical memorandum issued and presented to the Board in May of this year. In brief:

  1. After structural engineering review, it is not feasible to reuse the existing Headworks Building in the Upgrade and Expansion project. A new Headworks Building must be constructed. Construction of a new Headworks facility will enable the District to utilize “two-stage” screening: 6 mm openings for coarse materials (e.g., non-flushable wipes, plastics, other debris) and 2 mm openings to capture fibrous materials to prevent “re-weaving” of fibers in the treatment plant and damage to downstream equipment.

  2. The District recently acquired an additional approximately 200 feet of land to the west of the existing site. As long as a new Headworks Building must be constructed, it makes sense to locate it as close to the influent pipeline and manhole as possible, to free up as much of the existing site as possible for future utilization (future expansions, and maximization of treatment capacity on the existing site). With this change, it becomes possible to build new treatment process basins rather than retrofit the existing Sequence Batch Reactors (SBRs). The SBR Basins will be re-tasked for Aerobic Digestion and Influent Peak Flow Equalization.

  3. Previously, the District was going to construct a $22M Upgrade and Expansion, followed in 5 to 10 years by an second, approximately $7M Solids Processing Expansion and Upgrade. If the solids processing project is included in the Phase I Expansion and Upgrade, the combined cost is actually slightly less than if the two projects are completed separately. Considering the substantial administrative, permitting, funding and contracting efforts associated with these large public works projects, it makes more sense to complete them in one project rather than two.

  4. The cost of construction in Big Sky continues to escalate at a higher rate than construction in other markets around the country. The difficulty in bringing in large quantities of concrete up from the Gallatin Valley, and the competition for labor and high cost of worker housing all contribute to high costs to build in Big Sky.