It’s almost online, it’s mostly underground — and now it’s also under budget.
As Washington Town Council members heard at their regular monthly meeting Monday night at Town Hall, the town’s $4 million sewer system will likely cost more like $3.7 million, according to current construction estimates as the project winds down.
Council member Gary Schwartz said the application to the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for a certificate to operate the plant is being prepared this week for Mayor Eugene Leggett’s signature. The DEQ has up to 30 days to issue the certificate.
Though the project is a few months behind schedule (due mostly to the snow and flooding of a memorable winter), the project ran under budget for several reasons, including the fact that installation of the sewer plant’s collection system — the pipes that run from homes and businesses in town to the sewer plant near U.S. 211 — required almost no expensive blasting or cutting through rock. The original project budgeted $55,000 for such work.
The nearly $300,000 under-run also doesn’t account for the $489,500 DEQ grant received by the town when it agreed to stricter output levels from the treatment plant into the Rush River.
Other savings were attributed to “value-engineering” practices, in which the town negotiates changes in bids submitted by contractors that would save money and not significantly affect the project.
In other action, the council appointed Neville Turner and Katherine Leggett (daughter of the mayor) to fill Planning Commission seats vacated by Jay Brown last year and Mary Ann Kuhn this year.
The council also appointed Beverly Sullivan (wife of Town Council member and unopposed mayoral candidate John Sullivan) to the Architectural Review Board opening created by former ARB chairman Patrick O’Connell’s appointment to the Town Council.