Cost estimate drops for water pipeline project

ENID, Okla. — A total phased program cost estimate for the Kaw Lake water pipeline project is now at $299.8 million.

In February, Enid City Commission learned the total cost opinion was $470 million — up from a previous opinion of $451 million — and city of Enid officials have since been working on a phased-in approach.

During a study session Tuesday, Garver Engineering Program Manager Michael Graves said the phase two program goals were to prepare the full buildout 30 percent design of the program through 2072, update the cost opinion associated with that vision and develop an executable program that meets the city's budget.

"There's a couple of ways to do that. First of all we have to reduce costs, and how we get there there's a couple of different scenarios for that," he said.

One is to look at value engineering some of the items that were in the full buildout plan, Graves said. Another is to phase in components of the full buildout plan when those actually are needed, from a capacity and regulatory standpoint, and the third way is to take a look at the overall capacity of the program and get to the full buildout 2072 flows with a step-wise approach.

"That's where the biggest bang for our buck occurred was to reduce the capacity of this initial construction phase and not build for the full 2072 program need," he said.

Plans were sized based on a future water demand of about 19.2 million gallons per day by 2072, Graves said.

It was projected previously that when the city reaches the 25-year design life of the program, in the year 2047, the city would need to deliver 14.4 million gallons per day, he said.

Over the past year, there has been reduced water usage within the community. With the latest projection, it is believed the program needs to be sized for 12.6 million gallons per day in 2047, Graves said.

"This tells us where we can take a pretty comfortable step into the future at 25 years, which, by the way, is the design life of most of the operating equipment, most of the treatment processes themselves. There's a renewal and replacement usually associated at the 25-year mark," he said.

With that as a basis, and some changes to infrastructure elements, the cost reductions would result in the total program cost of $299.8 million, Graves said.

"We're still carrying some construction contingency within this cost estimate," he said. "We're not saying that this is a bid day price because we're a long ways from bid day, so there's a lot of things that could still change between now and bid day."

Changes would involve deferring one of three pumps, removing the backup generator and reducing the overall building footprint of the intake structure; deferring construction of an intermediate booster pump station needed to meet the demand scenario of 2072; deferring an emergency storage reservoir; deferring two of the three cells at the equalization terminal storage reservoirs; and making sizable cuts to the water treatment plant, including reducing the plant capacity, reducing some of the building area and deferring some taste and odor treatment to a future phase.

"None of these reductions here impact our ability to deliver safe, clean water that tastes good, is mixed with well water — the same water distributed everywhere — and that's what $300 million does," City Manager Jerald Gilbert said.

Graves said work would continue on the phased-in approach, as officials attempt to find additional ways to reduce costs.

"The pipeline itself ... it can still supply water for the next 50 years. The water treatment plant is safe and robust. It's a good drinking water treatment system that will meet the requirements, and it addresses those desperately needed improvements in your existing distribution infrastructure system, your existing storage and pumping facilities. And it's below the $300 million target," he said, referring to what commissioners could take away from the update.

City of Enid Engineering Director Chris Gdanski said there will be a schedule change.

Phase three was slated to begin on April 1, but there is discussion the start date may be moved to July 1. With that change, everything would finish three or four months later, assuming there are no other schedule breaches, Graves said. 

"Really, what's going to drive the schedule is coming up with the phased-in plan that's feasible, affordable and allows us enough funding to be able to fix the other things we need to fix in the city over 30 years. We are making significant progress towards doing that. Tonight is evidence of that, in a $300 million project that brings 9 million gallons of water per day to go with the 6 million that we will continue to have from the well fields, which gives us 15 million gallons per day on average — which, clearly, on our growth chart, takes us out past 2050," Gilbert said. 

He expects to come back before the commission with the conclusion of the phased plan in May.

"Based on that schedule, July 1 is by far the soonest that I could see moving forward, to be frank with you," Gilbert told the commission. "I think it's important that when we move forward we all understand what's involved and we're all comfortable. Ultimately, you guys make the decision that we have a feasible phased-in plan that works."

He said it's likely in phase three and future phases there will be other delays.

"I guess what I'm saying is I'm less concerned about the schedule at this point than I am about completing what our objective of phase two is, which is to produce that feasible phased-in plan," Gilbert said.


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