JEO representative talks about water project

By Laura Bacon/NT Staff Writer

Zach Schulz of JEO Engineering talked to the council about additional water projects — like the replacement of water meters — during Monday’s meeting.

AUDUBON — Zach Schulz, of JEO Engineering, was on hand to walk the council through the process of choosing a bid and awarding a contract for work replacing water meters around Audubon.

Schulz said the city had received five bids, adding that they had been very competitive — and all the bids had come in under the engineer’s estimate.

The low bidder was Building Crafts out of Red Oak, with a bid of $476,000.

“It is nice to have a local contractor,” Schulz said.

The project will replace almost every water meter in the city with new models that can be read at a distance by radio. The upgrade will mean meters can be read more often, allowing the city to go to monthly billing for water. Some meters in town were replaced with models that can be used on the system with some upgrading — but most of the properties in town will need to have their meter replaced.

The council asked if special software was needed to read the meters, and Schulz said that was all included in the contractor’s bid, along with about 15 extra meters in case one turned out to be defective or a new meter needed to be installed.

After the meters are installed, the city will go on to work on the next phase of their water project — including improvements on the water treatment plant and the installation of a new well.

The city was looking at adding two new wells but a search for a second useable location was unsuccessful.

The water projects are being paid for through USDA funds in the form of a loan and a grant — with loan funds expended, the city is now starting to use the $1.1 million in grant money, and Schulz said told council members, “You have just barely tapped into that,” leaving about $800,000 to $900,000 still available.

During earlier work sewer lines around the city were televised to find breaks and areas in need of repair.

The council approved a Professional Services Agreement with JEO for the additional work, at a cost of $159,500, including all design work, bidding through construction and post construction.

The plan is to do some CIPP lining on sewer lines in poor shape — a process that is easier than digging up the sewer lines, but there are also about 17 spot repairs that would require some digging in small areas to fix.

Schulz said as the funds were coming from USDA funds, there were some “strings” attached, for example, the city had to create an ADA compliant parking stall at the Memorial Building, and some GS utility maps would be created. If funds remained, JEO suggested looking at fixing manholes around the city that were in need of upgrade or repair.

The council approved designating the low bidder and awarding the contract on the water meter project, along with the professional services agreement with JEO.