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Wastewater treatment plant finished early, under budget

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: CITY OF WILSONVILLE - Wilsonville's new wastewater treatment plant, shown here while under construction, is now operational. The project wrapped up on time and under budget. Wilsonville’s new $44 million wastewater treatment plant is now finished. Even better for the city, the long-awaited project is both on time and under budget.

Capital Projects Director Eric Mende shared the news with the city council during an April 7 work session.

The new plant replaces an aging facility built in the 1970s and upgraded many times as the city grew. In recent years, however, that growth seemed to get the best of the old plant. Many residents began to compamin about foul odors coming from it.

“The plant may not have been such a good neighbor in the past,” Mende told the council.

The city plans to celebrate the new plant’s completion with a dedication ceremony Thursday at 2 p.m. The public is invited to attend. The ceremony will be held at the new plant, located at 9275 SW Tauchman Road.

The facility is a long time coming for Wilsonville residents who have had to endure the previous plant’s olfactory offenses. Built by CH2M Hill, the new plant will also be operated by the company going forward as part of a so-called design-build-operate scheme city officials hope will save the city money in personnel and operating costs.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: CITY OF WILSONVILLE - A dedication ceremony will be held Thursday at 2 p.m. for the new Wilsonville wastewater treatment plant, shown here during demolition of the old plant. The original goals for the project were set in 2007, Mende said. In 2008, the council approved the design-build-operate scheme in which a private company would be hired to design and build the new plant and run it once completed. In July 2011 CH2M Hill was chosen by the city to carry out the project. Construction started three months later and has since been carried out more rapidly than planned.

The city originally set a budget of $41.8 million for the design and construction of the project. Current estimates, however, show that CH2M Hill will come in at $38.24 million, about 11 percent below the amount budgeted.

Council members were grateful that the plant will come in under budget.

“I can remember back in the beginning, going to Clackamas County Commissioner Savas and saying, because of his history with these kinds of builds, saying what do you think this going to cost us?” said Councilor Scott Starr. “And I remember him saying $60 to 70 million. And to look at that slide and it’s not even $39 million, that’s unbelievable.”

In addition, the final acceptance date for the project was supposed to be March 20 of this year. Instead, the actual acceptance turned out to be Jan. 20, two months ahead of schedule.

“I don’t have a technical way of evaluating how well that plant is functioning,” Councilor Julie Fitzgerald remarked. “But I did walk down the trail there and I could smell the flowers and trees, so that’s pretty good.”

“That’s technical,” quipped City Manager Bryan Cosgrove.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: CITY OF WILSONVILLE - A dedication ceremony will be held Thursday at 2 p.m. for the new Wilsonville wastewater treatment plant, shown here while still under construction. Joking aside, the council is more than pleased with the final result of a project that three years ago caused a great deal of debate and concern over the final cost and result. Now, that is all a memory.

“I’m amazed at where we started and where we finished and how incredible this whole thing has gone,” Starr said. “Because you only get it when something’s wrong; when something’s going right nobody notices it a whole lot. This is just amazing how well this came out.”



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