Spokane Valley soon will have a cheaper way to deal with stormwater sludge sucked from thousands of flood-control wells across the city.
A regional processing facility pushed by Spokane Valley took a major step forward Tuesday when City Council members agreed to pay a North Idaho company nearly $842,000 to build it. S&L Underground Inc., based in Bonners Ferry, was the lowest of six bidders.
“It’s a great deal,” said Councilman Chuck Hafner, who has long expressed concern over the city’s inability to keep up with maintenance of dry wells and stormwater catch basins.
Most of the $1.2 million project’s total cost will be covered by state grants, with the city pitching in about $136,000.
Spokane Valley is teaming up on the project with the state Transportation Department, which provided the land where the facility will be built and will own and maintain it. The state agency and Spokane Valley will share use of the facility.
It will be located at a state DOT yard near Pines and Montgomery just north of Interstate 90.
Currently, it costs Spokane Valley about $660 per truckload to dispose of stormwater sludge because the soupy goo must be mixed with wood pellets and sit overnight in a contractor’s truck while the moisture is absorbed before it can be hauled to the dump. Much of that cost involves continuing to pay for the use of the contractor’s truck while it sits with a load of sludge and wood pellets.
The new processing facility will enable truckloads to be quickly dumped on sloped slabs, where the moisture seeps from the sludge into tanks where it’s filtered and piped into drain wells. The cost per truckload drops to about $250, said Spokane Valley’s Public Works Director Eric Guth.
Spokane and Spokane County are building similar facilities.
The Valley relies on a network of more than 7,000 dry wells and catch basins to prevent street flooding by containing stormwater and snow melt. But the wells can become clogged with silt and need to be cleaned out periodically with massive suction hoses.
The bid award Tuesday was the city’s second attempt to find a contractor for the project.
The city received just three bids last fall – all of which were significantly over estimate – and decided to make some changes in the proposal and seek a new round of bids. In the meantime, it secured some additional grants.
The other bidders were: Contractors Northwest Inc., $882,095; MDM Construction Inc., $968,369; West Company, $1.05 million; William Winkler Co., $1.058 million; and Knife River Corp.-Northwest, $1.059 million.