Missoula County to rebid Buena Vista wastewater project with spring in mind

Buena Vista represents a collection of 36 mobile homes that sit above a nearby sewage lagoon. The environmental impacts of the unlined lagoon and questions over public safety placed the neighborhood high on the priority list for a new treatment system.

After altering its approach to bring down costs, Missoula County next week will rebid Phase 1 of a wastewater project planned for a mobile home park west of the airport.

On Thursday, commissioners also awarded a contract to Great West Engineering of Helena to begin an engineering report for the project’s second phase, located at the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park.

“We’ve been working with them for many years now on Phase 1,” said Greg Robertson, the county’s director of public works. “We received three proposals back, one local and two in Helena. Each of the proposals were quality.”

Buena Vista represents a collection of 36 mobile homes that sit above a nearby sewage lagoon. The environmental impacts of the unlined lagoon and questions over public safety placed the neighborhood high on the priority list for a new treatment system.

Last year, the county asked the state for an additional six months to find a qualified engineering firm to begin the work. The added time was needed after the project’s first phase came in well over bid.

“We’re re-advertising now that the calendars have been reset and will hopefully get a better price,” Robertson said. “We also negotiated with the city to simplify the design and get a variance from their requirements that really increased the cost. That should help as well.”

Phase 1 includes connecting the existing wastewater system to the city’s sewer main. It also includes a plan to rehabilitate and grade the old lagoon.

When the project was sent to bid, however, it received just one contractor and was $100,000 over budget, Robertson said. He believes the issue has been resolved and expects a favorable bid this time around, followed by spring construction.

“A lot of that had to do with a requirement by the city for the type of construction that there’s no one licensed in the state to do, so they had to import somebody, and that was expensive,” he said. “The city at our request waved that requirement to go with a more economical technique.”

Phase 2 will include land-use planning and other work to install a new main.

“The main runs between the rows of trailers and it’s covered with debris and outbuildings that prevent the city from actually being able to inspect and maintain that,” Robertson said. “Phase 2 will do some land-use planning, but also plan for the relocation and eventual installation of the new main and services to connect all the residences, and abandon the old main in place.”