Cuchara water tank project moves forward

 CUCHARA — At its December 13 meeting, the Board of the Cucharas Sanitation & Water District accepted two bids that will put the Cuchara Water Tank Project in motion. Chairman Art Pierce said, “We’ve been talking about it for a long time. I’m glad to get this project underway.” CSWD is in the process of filing for permit extensions since the project was delayed for so long. A few months ago, CSWD received only two bids to do the installation of the new tank, and those bids were nearly twice as much as anticipated. So the project was re-bid, and this time around, four companies provided bids ranging from $201,056 to $387,490. On the recommendation of general manager Bob Northup, the board selected the low bidder, Purgatoire Valley Construction, from Trinidad, to contract the work. About half of the project cost will be covered by a grant. Concerned about potential “adds” to the project, the board suggested wording the contract in a way that the contractor understands, in Pierce’s words, “We expect them to stand by their bid.” Pierce added, “Costs can creep up on you. I take very seriously spending people’s money.” The tank itself will be purchased separately, to save on the cost. Engineering America was selected as the supplier, and on Northup’s recommendation again, the board selected an 89,455 gallon glass-fused-to-steel tank for a price of $127,965. Northup said the glass lined tank, made in the USA, is superior and advised that a less expensive tank with an epoxy-coated interior could be problematic. Because the project cost was estimated three years ago, and prices have gone up since then, Northup told the board, “We’re going to have to come up with some extra money – about $85,000 to $90,000 more than we had estimated.” To raise some of this money, the board directed Northup to sell the old tank that is being replaced, even if it goes for scrap. Pierce also asked Northup to request that the contractor keep road damage to a minimum during the project next summer. “Remind them that’s our peak season for residents up and down that road,” Pierce said.