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Wastewater facility planning in final stages; Dickinson treatment plant could cost $29.9M

The Dickinson City Commission is one step closer to transitioning from the current wastewater treatment plant, shown above, to a mechanical one that can serve up to 68,000 people, officials said Saturday. Commissioners will review bids totaling $29.95 million for the facility, which should be operational in two years.

The city of Dickinson is in the final stages of planning the wastewater treatment reclamation facility, a top-priority project that "couldn't come sooner," officials said Saturday.

"While all the projections for the growth in this community are pretty aggressive, we have accepted a design for the plan that will ... meet our immediate needs," Dickinson City Commissioner Klayton Oltmanns said. "We can build to our needs but we have the ability for expansion."

The city received four bids for construction, two for electrical and two for plumbing, according to Fargo-based Apex Engineering Group.

The Dickinson City Commission will review the bids Tuesday. The North Dakota Department of Health must also approve the companies.

The low bids set the project at approximately $29.95 million, according to Apex. Oltmanns and Commissioner Gene Jackson were happy with the bids.

"There was a little bit of concern with all of the construction going on in our community that the cost of building the plant would go up during this economic cycle," Oltmanns said. "I think the advantage we had there was nationwide there is a downturn in the economy, so there are contractors looking for this type of work."

The project attracted interest from across the country, but regional bidders from North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota put bids in, Apex Vice President Mike Berg said.

Facility plans have been in the works for several years, he added. Design is complete, and the facility should be open in about two years.

The gap in prices should satisfy the commission, Jackson said.

"On a $30 million project ... it's really very close bidding," he said. "It's still a lot of money, but percentage wise, it's still close to the estimate. That's 1 percent on $30 million."

Residents are anxious for the project to get started, Jackson said. The city's current system is pushing its limits.

"We have contingency plans if there are major issues," Berg said. "We should have all our bases covered."

The facility will be two miles southeast of Dickinson and could accommodate up to 68,000 people, Apex representatives previously told The Press.

The transition should be seamless, Oltmanns said. The facility will also have a special feature for residents.

"It will certainly be nice to transition to a mechanical plant and not have to ever worry about the smell from the lagoon ever again," he said. "I think that will be an added bonus that everyone will enjoy."