The project will construct nearly one mile of 36-inch-diameter water main to connect a new well field the city is drilling to the existing water transmission system at McAllister Springs. Work is expected to begin this summer.
The city is moving to replace McAllister Spring, in northern Thurston County near the Nisqually Reservation, which has been the city’s main water source since the 1940s.
Officials want to move the city’s water source to underground wells because the surface water sits close to a BNSF Railway line and is prone to contamination. There also is concern that rising sea levels because of global warming could cause saltwater to infiltrate the freshwater source.
The council voted unanimously Tuesday to award the contract to Scarsella Bros. of Kent, the third-lowest of seven bidders for the project at $3,150,176. WM. Dickson Co. of Tacoma had the low bid at $2,933,352 and Jennings Northwest LLC of Sumner had the second-lowest at $3,010,110.
The two lower bidders didn’t meet the city’s criteria and are “non-responsible,” Public Works Director Rich Hoey said.
The project is large-scale and complex, and the city required special requirements. One was both the contractor and field superintendent had to have installed at least 4,000 feet of 36-inch or larger welded steel pipe in the past 10 years.
Staffers determined that with WM Dickson, neither the company nor the field superintendent met the requirements, Hoey said. With Jennings, the company didn’t meet the requirements, he said.
Scott Jennings, the owner of Jennings Northwest, argued that his company was qualified.
“This is $154,000 that you don’t have to spend,” he said, referring to the difference between his bid and the winning one.