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Street contractor back for sewage lagoon project

10:39 pm June 11th, 2012

The Dispatch

A Kitsap County company is going from remaking Mashell Avenue in Eatonville to making a critical repair at the town’s wastewater treatment plant.

Stan Palmer Construction has been awarded the contract to replace the liner in the plant’s sewage lagoon. Palmer’s bid of approximately $1 million, chosen by the Town Council, was about $80,000 less than the second-lowest bid from ERRG Inc. ($1.1 million). Five companies submitted bids.

The sewage project, an urgent one from an environmental standpoint, is the second million-dollar job for Palmer in Eatonville in the past 12 months. The company, which is based in Port Orchard, was the contractor last year for the $1.2 mllion, state-funded renovation of Mashell Avenue that included a new roadway, sidewalks and other improvements.

The sewage lagoon project has been on the drawing board since 2010, when the state Department of Ecology (DOE) said the liner was wearing thin and increasing the possibility of pollutants leaking into groundwater and the Mashel River. The council last August turned down contractors’ bids for the project in the hope that better offers would come by delaying the work until this year.

The latest bidding ranged from the low end of Stan Palmer Construction, which the council accepted in May, to a high of $1.6 million.

Under the terms of federal financing for the project, Eatonville is required to provide $100,000 toward the total cost. The rest is being loaned to the town by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development program.

The synthetic rubber liner is 31 years old. Town officials, who agree with DOE that it’s close to being worn out, initially hoped to have it replaced last year. But DOE, which is monitoring progress on the project, has issued a permit that gives the town until the end of 2013 to install a new liner. The state agency has expressed confidence that the old liner will last until then.

The lagoon is part of the town’s sewage treatment process. The wastewater plant handles about 275,000 gallons of sewage per day, according to offiicials. Some of the treated effluent flows into the lagoon, where solids settle onto the liner and break down naturally. The solid matter is about a foot deep at times during that process.

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