Reduced loan rates were available from Ohio EPA (OEPA) through the Water Supply Revolving Loan Account (WSRLA). The funds would not be available until July 2014, but during that period, design was completed, an RFP to receive bids was advertised, and contracts were awarded prior to June 2014 deadline. The City applied for an OEPA/WSLRA Loan to obtain funding for the proposed $15 million that included engineering services for planning through construction, equipment purchases, installation and project management. The City also obtained a short-term OWDA Planning Loan to pay for the project planning and bid packages. This loan would be rolled into the final 20-year loan obtained under the OEPA WSLRA.
Planning Phase and Tentative Project Schedule
A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was issued soliciting interested consulting firms who were knowledgeable in planning and design of similar size AMR systems. A City committee was established to score and rank these qualification statements. Burgess & Niple, Inc. (B&N) was selected and in late July 2013, was awarded a contract to prepare project specifications and bid documents.
B&N had six months to complete the planning and design phases of the project and three months to bid and award the contracts for meters, MTUs and installation before the March 2014 deadline.
B&N was tasked with completing design, advertising, bidding, awarding the contracts and issuing the Notice to Proceed well in advance of the WSLRA funding deadline of June 30, 2014.
Goals for Planning Phase
During preliminary discussions, it was apparent that there were several specific goals to be met in the planning phase:
- Conduct in-depth analysis of the ALCARA AMR software to determine enhancements, software fixes, additional features and functionality. Retaining the ACLARA system would result in savings to the City and allow them to reduce the project cost by upgrading rather than replacing the entire AMR software and hardware system.
- Evaluate other AMR/AMI fixed-based systems to determine additional features and functionality that would benefit the City.
- Evaluate water meter registers to determine compatibility with ACLARA software.
- Evaluate the accuracy of the existing meters by random sampling and testing.
- Develop bid documents that would ensure only experienced installation contractors would be pre-qualified to bid on the installation of the meters and MTUs.