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Ferriday opens bids for water improvements

Ferriday — Ferriday residents may have crystal-clear drinking water by 2018.

“The town of Ferriday has been working on getting clean drinking water for nearly 70 years, and it’s finally happening,” Mayor Gene Allen said. “The water improvements are a great thing for Ferriday and the residents of Ferriday.”

The Ferriday Board of Aldermen opened 13 bids on its $6.2 million water system improvements Thursday, but voted to delay accepting bids until its engineering company, Bryant Hammett and Associates reviews the bids.

The water improvement project was broken up into three separate projects for bidding — switching the city’s water supply from Old River to ground water wells, replacing outdated and non-functioning water meters and improving the town’s water treatment facility.

Improvements will be paid through a $5 million grant and $1.2 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The town plans to repay the loan over the course of 40 years and maintain the water system with a $6 increase in water rates, approved at the board’s Aug. 20 meeting. A reserve fund will also be set up for emergency repairs, Allen said.

Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2014, with the entire project finishing by 2018.

The town received four proposals for installing new water meters.

The proposals for the meters included:

$1.4 million from Vanguard Services, based in Owensboro, Ky.

$998,175 from Utility Technology Services, based in Ruston, La.

$1.06 million from Womack and Sons Construction Group, based in Harrisonburg, La.

$2.09 million from Thielsch Engineering, based in Cranston R.I.

The town asked for proposals on the water meters rather than bids.

A request for proposals allows a company more freedom to define contract terms and provide extra services, Ferriday’s engineer Bryant Hammett said.

“You may not be getting the same quality of services with a cheaper proposal with an RFP,” Hammett said. “For example, one company might charge more, but provide a better product and get the project done more quickly.”

Hard bids were submitted for water-well improvements and water plant improvements instead of requests for proposals. Bids are more strict on conditions.

Hammett said choosing the lowest price is the best option when choosing a bid.

Bids on the water-well improvements included:

-$847,760 from Womack and Sons Construction Group, based in Harrisonburg, La.

-$660,359 from Watson Well Drilling, based in Bryan, Ohio.

-$825,000 from Mid-South Water and Machine Works, based in Cleveland, Miss.

-$813,732 from Continental Drilling.

-$743,806 from Griner Drilling Services, based in Columbia.

Bids on the water treatment facility included:

-$4.5 million from Camo Construction, based in Vidalia.

-$4.1 million from Greenbriar Digging Services, based in Brookhaven.

-$4.1 million from Womack and Sons Construction Group, based in Harrisonburg, La.

-$4.8 million from Cecil Gassiott LLC, based in Alexandria, La.

-$5 million from Peck Construction.

Hammett said his company would review bids and proposals to check arithmetic and make sure bids follow state laws before proceeding.

The USDA must also review bids before a contract is awarded.




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