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Vancouver rejects outsized bid to address sewage pump issue

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(The Center Square) – The Vancouver City Council has rejected a bid for two sewage lift pumps for the Vancouver Marine Park Wastewater Treatment Facility that was 162% higher than city estimates.

The Vancouver Marine Park Wastewater Treatment Facility is in need of replacements of two replacement non-clog pumps to ensure a safer workplace and more reliable operation. Currently, the facility’s sewage influent pump gallery has two newer non-clog pumps and three pumps from original construction in the 1990’s. Treatment plant operators have to manually remove materials from the three old pumps.

The city engineer originally estimated that the purchase of two non-clog pumps would cost $90,000, rather than the $862,969 bid that the city received. The engineer’s estimate was based on a single, smaller pump and was erroneously not updated when the project turned to pursuing larger pumps, according to a staff report.

The updated estimate from the city engineer is now $560,000, which is a 522% increase from the original estimate.

The Vancouver City Council rejected the bid in the council meeting on Jan. 8 as part of the consent agenda. With the rejected bid, the city staff will now ensure more competitive pricing by establishing more standard requirements and specifications.

Out of the $128 million that is dedicated to utilities projects in the Vancouver 2023-2024 budget, $58 million is set for a two-year wastewater program that includes $7 million in investments for the Marine Park plant where the replacement pumps are intended to go.

The Center Square reached out to the City of Vancouver to inquire if the updated estimated cost of $560,000 to purchase two new pumps impact the city’s intent to ensure a safer workplace at the Marine Park plant. However, the city did not respond at the time of this publication.

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