The Fallbrook Public Utility District's professional services contract for the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project has been amended.
A 5-0 FPUD board vote Sept. 28 added $733,655 to the contract with Infrastructure Engineering Corporation to provide design services for the Conjunctive Use Project. The contract amendment also revises the scope of work to reflect additional demands on IEC.
The Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use Project being pursued by FPUD, Camp Pendleton, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will enhance groundwater recharge and recovery capability within the lower Santa Margarita River basin and develop a program which will increase available water supplies for FPUD and Camp Pendleton.
The Camp Pendleton infrastructure will include piping to deliver the water to the boundary of the Naval Weapons Station and Fallbrook behind the FPUD solar facility site on Alturas Road. Construction of the facilities from the NWS boundary is FPUD's responsibility.
The water will be treated at the Alturas Road plant and delivered into FPUD's distribution system. FPUD's infrastructure will include a groundwater treatment plant, a distribution system to the Gheen Zone east of Stage Coach Lane, the Gheen Pump Station and a storage tank with piping, and construction management and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system integration.
Construction on the Conjunctive Use Project is currently approximately 50% complete. FPUD expects construction to be completed by November 2021.
In October 2014, the FPUD board awarded a $3,205,140 design contract to Infrastructure Engineering Corporation. The design work included an implementation plan and potential phasing options to balance up-front capacity costs with the project yield. Subsequent design changes increased the total contract amount to $3,207,759 and, in September 2015, the funding for the final design was authorized.
On Jan. 27, the FPUD board approved a contract amendment which added $771,143 to the amount and which will provide FPUD with treatment process selection, design services and construction administration for additional granular activated carbon facilities so that the groundwater treatment plant can also remove per and polyfluoroalkyl substances contaminants from the treated water.
In July 2019, FPUD awarded Filanc Alberici JV a $54,398,232 construction contract for the Conjunctive Use Project. The original scope of work for IEC during the bid phase included responding to questions and preparing three addenda. IEC responded to 343 questions from the bidders and prepared six addenda.
The IEC activity also includes design services during construction. The original scope of work included 200 responses to requests for information, preparation of 20 design changes, and review of 200 submittals. As of August 2020, IEC has responded to 277 requests for information, has prepared 18 design changes, and has reviewed 396 submittals.
"I think we didn't look at that well enough," said FPUD board president Ken Endter, who was not on FPUD's board in 2014.
Based on the work already performed the estimates were revised. IEC is now expected to respond to 341 requests for information, prepare 25 design changes, and review 480 submittals.
"Pretty soon we'll have a good idea of where the costs are falling in," said FPUD general manager Jack Bebee.
"Sometimes as we go into these there's a tendency to be optimistic," Bebee said. "We just need to make sure we're not so optimistic on that part of the project."
Charley Wolk also joined the FPUD board after the original design contract was issued. "That's 18%," he said of the additional amount. "That to me is too much."
Wolk did not fault IEC and still voted in favor of the contract amendment.
The State Water Resources Control Board has a State Revolving Fund loan program which provides water agencies with low-interest loans. In January, the State Water Resources Control Board approved a loan of $62,935,885 which includes a contingency of $5,440,000 as well as the construction, design and construction management costs. The contingency will allow the PFAS treatment to be funded by the loan. FPUD will also pursue grants to cover the cost of the additional treatment facilities.
Design for the additional granular activated carbon facilities is currently approximately 75% complete. FPUD expects bids to be received by December 2020, which will provide more certainty about how much of the contingency funding will be available. FPUD currently anticipates a $4,500,000 cost for the PFAS treatment, which would leave $206,345 for other contingencies when the contract amendment with IEC is added.
If the total cost exceeds the current State Revolving Fund loan amount, FPUD could seek additional SRF loan money and the district could also rely on other sources of funding. "We probably need to have a two-prong strategy on it," Bebee said.
Pipeline replacement is normally funded as a pay-as-you-go capital expense, so that could be used for some of the Conjunctive Use Project work. "Some of the pipelines that are going in are replacing existing pipelines," Bebee said.