October 22, 2021

SIRWA approves plant bids

One day the Iowa Department of Natural Resources approves the plan for Southern Iowa Rural Water Association’s new water treatment plant. The next day, the SIRWA board approves bids for it to be built, with some contingencies.

Wednesday, SIRWA approved Hawkins Construction Company of Omaha, Nebraska, the day after Iowa DNR agreed to the plans for the plant. Hawkins’ bid was $40.1 million.

“That was the first thing that needed to drop,” said SIRWA General Manager Dan McIntosh about the DNR ruling.

Bid approval was to happen earlier this summer, but delays with DNR forced SIRWA to wait. McIntosh said the board had reviewed the bids and realized the total was more than what they estimated at about $54 million. McIntosh said SIRWA has applied for additional funding from Rural Development which he is confident will be acquired. McIntosh said the bids will have some contingency on the details of the additional funds.

McIntosh said SIRWA’s total cost for their entire project is $65,585,000. It had initially planned for $53.5 million.

“The bids were awarded on RD’s approval. At least they know they can order materials,” McIntosh said.

Other work includes water pipe improvements and a water tower. Piping bid from Shane Poe Construction of Downing, Missouri, was approved at $8,108,835. The 1 million gallon water tower bid from Maguire Iron of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was approved at $2,855,000.

The water treatment plant will have a capacity of 6 million gallons a day. New pipe will be a combined total of more than 9 miles.

McIntosh said SIRWA is planning a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 20.

SIRWA purchases water from the city of Creston’s water treatment plant at Twelve Mile Lake. About 85% of SIRWA’s water is from Creston Water Works. Creston Water Works owns the water rights to Twelve Mile Lake while SIRWA owns the rights to Three Mile Lake.

The treatment plant was pursued after SIRWA’s growth using Creston City Water Works facilities. Creston and SIRWA had contractual agreements SIRWA using Creston’s water treatment plant at 12 Mile Lake and paying a percent of how much water was used. SIRWA had more customer growth than Creston’s. Both entities agreed SIRWA would pay for a percentage of maintenance of plant use but as SIRWA’s customers grew in numbers, so did its plant expenses.

SIRWA was paying about 75% of the plant operation, which created the idea to have its own water treatment plant. McIntosh said there are discussions for SIRWA and the Creston Water Works to adjust their contracts upon completion and use of SIRWA’s water plant, which is expected in 2023. Additional agreements are being discussed to share water sources and each entity supply each other finished water during emergencies or maintenance.