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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Brunswick County awards $129.1 million in reverse osmosis treatment contracts

Plans for the Northwest Water Treatment Plant include doubling its treatment capacity and adding low-pressure reverse osmosis technology to remove emerging contaminants from public drinking water. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy CDM Smith, Brunswick County)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — After years of planning, Brunswick County has finally cemented contracts to supply the region with low-pressure reverse osmosis water, nearly completely free of industrial contaminants.

Monday, Brunswick County Commissioners voted to award two contracts totaling $129.1 million that will upgrade and expand the Northwest Water Treatment Plant with new reverse osmosis equipment and a discharge pipeline.

Related: Brunswick lands necessary discharge permit to produce RO-treated water

Bid as two separate projects, all work on the pipeline and plant project will wrap up by August 2023. Partial completion, which will allow Brunswick County water customers to receive reverse osmosis-treated water, is anticipated by May 2022.

The contract awards are a significant milestone for the county, which first hired its consultant, CDM Smith, to study water treatment possibilities in January 2018.

Bid three times

Getting qualified contractors and bids on this complex and expensive project was difficult. The county put the project out to bid three separate times, receiving no bids the first round and two bids in the second and third round.

Oscar Renda Contracting, Inc. was the lowest bidder on the plant project, proposing to complete the base project with five RO skids for $117 million. Commissioners chose to add on three RO skids for $5.6 million, bringing the contract total to $122.6 million.

The additional RO units will help the system maintain lower pressure, bringing energy costs down, John Nichols, Public Utilities Director told Commissioners at the meeting. “The more skids you have, you have the ability to operate at a lower pressure,” he said.

Once completed, Northwest Water Treatment Plant will have 45 million gallons a day (mgd) in conventional treatment capacity, nearly double its current 24 mgd capacity. Because RO technology produces a discharge solution to purify the water, it will be capable of producing 36 mgd in RO-treated water at full capacity.

The discharge concentrate project was put out to bid just once, attracting six companies to complete the 4-mile pipeline. T. A. Loving Company submitted the lowest bid at $6,595,000.

Brunswick County is still awaiting the approval of the Local Government Commission for its revenue bond sale and to close the bonds, set to occur after June 4. Once approved, the county can issue a Notice to Proceed and execute the construction contracts with T. A. Loving and Oscar Renda Contracting.

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