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NEWBERRY ‒ Newberry city commissioners turned their attention to wastewater improvements at the Aug, 24 City Commission meeting. The commission approved a bid of $726,004, which includes the base bid of $637,727 and the addition of Alternate One at $88,277 to relocate Lift Station #1 and establish a wet station on higher ground.

Alternate One was described by Director of Utilities and Public Works Jamie JoneJones as including road resurfacing of Southwest 2nd Avenue from Southwest 254th Street to Southwest 258th Street.

Lift Station #1 is located at the intersection of Southwest 255th Street and Southwest 2nd Avenue. It was constructed in 1976 and is the only dry well-style lift station in the City’s wastewater system. “It receives approximately 50 percent of all wastewater generated in the system prior to pumping it to the wastewater treatment facility,” said Jones. Jones said that the intersection floods and allows stormwater into the wastewater system with the additional water overwhelming the pumps and potentially causing a sanitary sewer overflow.

The location is also plagued by limited right-of-way as the lift station is located within five feet of the travel lane of Southwest 2nd Avenue and within 20 feet of a house located at 25455 S.W. 2nd Avenue. Also, the pumps are located 20 feet below ground in a confined space. “Personnel safety requirements involved in maintenance activities are increased over those that occur in a wet well lift station,” he said.

The City worked with the Alachua County School Board to obtain a new site adjacent to Newberry High School. Currently, it is adjacent to the school’s football field. In January 2019 the School Board agreed to transfer ownership of the 50-ft. x 50-ft. lot to the City in exchange for facilitating a future wastewater/water connection point for construction of restrooms adjacent to the football stadium.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) issued construction permits in May 2019. Since the project included removing a portion of Southwest 2nd Avenue, an add alternate was developed to incorporate an additional 1,900 feet of roadwork as part of the City’s annual road resurfacing plan.

Jones explained that the four bids received for the project were evaluated by the engineer and City staff and rejected as the bid amounts were inconsistent. Bidders were notified and the scope of services was reworked and a second request for bids was issued.

Five bids were received the second time and Andrews Paving, Inc. submitted the lowest responsive and responsible bid. Funding will be from a combination of sources including development fees, the General Fund,and the Local Option Gas Tax.

Although no exact start date was mentioned during the meeting, Jones said that he anticipates starting as soon as possible. “Once the contract is executed Andrews will provide a proposed construction schedule for City approval.”

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