Watershed District discusses moving dredge dates

The Shell Rock River Watershed District’s Board of Managers is considering a possible shift in end dates for the first phase of the dredging of Fountain Lake.

The district managers earlier this month set a range of dates that would be included in their request for bids in order to identify potential contractors for phase one of the project. That phase was slated to begin no later than June 1, 2018, and conclude no later than Dec. 1, 2019.

Board managers, administrators, attorneys, consultants, district engineers and city of Albert Lea engineers met Wednesday to discuss the criteria and process for which a contractor will be identified for the project — a mathematical problem was presented within the discussion.

Although the district will allow a potential dredge contractor to use another dredge beyond its own, the district proposed a potential bonus system if the contractor uses the dredge that the district owns. The bonus system would be a weighted point system as part of the ranking process for returned bids, incentivizing the use of district equipment.

“We have been trying to structure the whole package for the market to decide whether or not it is better to use the district’s equipment or their own equipment, and that would be done through a bidding process,” said Todd Lewis, a Natural Resource Technology and OBG Co./Engineering consultant.

Watershed District administrator Brett Behnke said in April 2014 that the district’s dredge, which can dig 30 feet deep, fits a 14-inch pipe. However, with the date range previously identified, the 14-inch pipe on the district’s dredge is too small to finish the project within their identified date range. Those present at the meeting Wednesday concluded that a larger dredge or another dredge used in conjunction with the district’s dredge would be necessary to complete the project within the proposed deadline.

“Let’s face it, it is an important discussion — is it important to get (the dredging project) done sooner for your property owners, because that is what some people expect you to do — is to get it done sooner — while others out in the county expect you to do it cheaper,” Watershed District attorney Matt Benda said.

Phase one is focused on Fountain Lake’s Edgewater Bay and would remove 550,000 to 690,000 cubic yards of sediment.

The Watershed District purchased the dredge, pumps, pipes and other equipment Sept. 24, 2012, during an auction at Ritchie Bros. in Owatonna. The 51-foot, 2010 IMS 7012 HP Versi dredge cost $340,000 and the equipment was purchased for $435,000 after an emergency meeting with the district’s board of managers.

A date range is necessary for the district’s request for bids because it allows contractors to be able to account for weather trends and environmental factors in the project. A request for bids will be issued in mid-August of this year.

Project bids will be released once pending permits are secured, which is expected this month. A contractor could start building the pipe that will transport sediment from the bottom of Fountain Lake to the site of the confined disposal facility as soon as the site is completed.

Progress in the dredging project will be determined by the completion date of the CDF, which is under construction north of Interstate 90, 1 1/2 miles north of Fountain Lake.

The CDF will house sediment gathered from the bottom of Fountain Lake.

Earlier this month, director of field operation for the district Andy Henschel said the CDF site construction is progressing more or less as scheduled.

The next board workshop is slated for 8:30 a.m. July 11 at the City Council Chambers.

© 2015 Shell Rock River Watershed District, 305 S 1st Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007