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Waste water treatment plant benefited from timing

(6/26) The upgrade and construction of the Emmitsburg wastewater treatment plant benefited by qualifying for an unusual amount of grants and loans that, along with recession economics, has resulted in cost savings to the community.

Two engineers associated with the improvement project briefed the town Board of Commissioners on the numbers associated with the new facility at their June 16 meeting, and provided a status overview on the remaining work.

Design Engineer Amy Sowitcky, GHD, told the board that the project is 12 months away from completion as per the initial projected construction schedule.

Regarding costs, Sowitcky said, "Emmitsburg was at the right place at the right time" to qualify for state and federal financial assistance.

Summing up the funding, she stated that of the $19,400,000 funding made available, $12,500,000 was provided by a state grant, $1,500,000 was made available through a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant, and $5,400,000 made available through a USDA loan.

Emmitsburg qualified for state funding by virtue of its treatment plant discharge of greater than 500,000 gallons per day (GPD), and for federal funding (grants and loans) by virtue of the service area of the facility being less than 10,000 people. Maryland further classified the town plant as one of the 66 in the state in "priority" need of funding for upgrade.

Sowitcky said Emmitsburg qualified for "a lot of grant and loan money that’s not typically available" due to its priority classification.

The depressed economy also contributed to providing Emmitsburg with a cost break on construction.

Sowitcky said that the overall costs of the plant upgrade was estimated to be around $18,570,000 in 2012. However, Conewago Construction ultimately put-in a winning bid of $13,430,780 for the project, a savings of "25 percent right off the bat" as the result of "economic downturn."

To date, she said change costs have amounted to around one percent ($142,791) to date, as compared to the USDA allowable change costs of five percent.

Mike Schultz, senior manager of construction with RK&K, told the board, "We are coming to the end game here," with completion of the physical upgrades and improvements between 70 and 95 percent complete. The project is expected to be done in spring 2015 followed by a start-up period

The electrical, which includes the instrumentation and controls that will run the plant" are at 30 percent completion and "we’re starting to dive into that now and that will play a major role in what we’ll be doing (over the) next year," he stated.

"We’ve all had decades of experience in this business," Schultz said. "We’re very happy with the way the project is going."

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