Key High sewer project ordered to go out to bid

Commissioners reject plan to sidestep process by using Lineboro firm

May 18, 1999|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

The county commissioners decided yesterday to request bids for the design and engineering phases of the Francis Scott Key High School sewer project.

J. Michael Evans, county public works director, had recommended the commissioners hire David T. Duree, president of Advance Systems, to complete the work. Duree's company completed a feasibility study of the site three weeks ago.

Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Julia Walsh Gouge said yesterday that they would have been comfortable following Evans' advice, but decided to support Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier's request that the project be put out for bid -- a process that is expected to take about 30 days.

"I felt we should go through the normal process that we would go through for any other project of this scope," said Frazier. "This way, we can get the information we need to make an educated decision about price and qualifications."

According to the plan outlined by Duree, treated sewage from Francis Scott Key High School would be discharged onto a neighboring dairy farm.

Duree said the plan, which was designed with biological engineers from the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension, will cost taxpayers $263,000 and take a little more than a year to complete.

The Lineboro wastewater treatment specialist has completed similar projects in the past, most notably on his own property.

Charles L. Zeleski, the county director of environmental health, has said Duree might be the only person in the area qualified to resolve the sewage problem at Francis Scott Key.

"As far as this type of project, I can't think of anyone who has experience. I think you'd have people bidding on it, but I would wonder about their qualifications," Zeleski told the commissioners last week.

County officials are ironing out details of a plan that calls for discharging as many as 7,000 gallons per day of treated sewage onto an unused field on property owned by dairy farmers Rodney and Melanie Stambaugh.

As they study the plan, the school's treatment plant sits idle. Sewage from the facility is being hauled to Westminster at a monthly cost of $9,000.

School officials built the $800,000 wastewater treatment plant last year to replace the school's aging septic system but failed to obtain state construction and discharge permits.

Pub Date: 5/18/99

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