Contractor awarded $1B overhaul of Shreveport, Louisiana, sewer system
UPDATE: April 10, 2019: According to Patrick Furlong, engineer for the City of Shreveport, Louisiana, the team of Burns & McDonnell and Bonton Associates has won the recommendation of the Architect and Engineering Selection Committee.
Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins, according to a prepared statement, will abide by the committee's decision. The mayor's office said Burns & McDonnell-Bonton "demonstrated superior program management experience" and that the committee was unanimous in selecting them for the job.
- Shreveport, Louisiana, officials are weighing proposals from three companies competing to oversee a $1 billion city water and sewer project. The original budget for the 12-year program, which kicked off in 2014, was $350 million.
- The three companies vying for program manager — and an annual $10 million — are local Shreveport firm Balar Associates; Burns & McDonnell, based in Kansas City, Missouri; and Hunt, Guillot & Associates, which is headquartered in Ruston, Louisiana. The city's architectural and engineering selection committee was scheduled to choose a firm to recommend to the mayor on April 4.
- The sewer system overhaul was mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 after the city’s aging infrastructure experienced a series of sanitary sewer overflows (SSO). Meeting the requirements outlined in the federal consent decree in a timely manner will allow the city to avoid further litigation with the EPA and avoid paying penalties — ranging from $500 to $2,500 per day — for missed deadlines in building the new system.
CDM Smith, according to the Shreveport Times, is the current program manager for the sewer overhaul, but the company’s contract expires this month. City Engineer Patrick Furlong told the Times that working with the firm had been “challenging.”
U.S. sewer systems, no matter the state or municipality, must adhere to the requirements of the Clean Water Act, and each SSO is a serious regulatory violation. According to the EPA, there are up to 75,000 SSO incidents each year in the U.S. Contributing to this number is the age of some of the country’s sewer infrastructure.
Baltimore has also found itself a defendant in the federal government’s push to get municipalities to upgrade their sewer systems. The city must make about $942 million of repairs to its 100-year-old sewers, according to The Baltimore Sun, which were designed to release waste overflows into waterways. This has resulted in millions of gallons of untreated sewage degrading the quality of local bodies of water like the city’s Inner Harbor.
The EPA has agreed to loan the city $202 million under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act to help pay for the work, and the Maryland Department of the Environment will finance another $328 million. The overhaul, which consists of 14 major projects, should be complete by the end of 2030.
As for Shreveport, the city is financing the work with revenue bonds, general obligation bonds and grants, as well as federal and state loans.
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