City Seeks Biological and Archaeological Bids

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

October 23, 2020

The City is taking bids now on environmental and archaeological monitoring during the installation of the conveyance system for its “Water Reclamation Facility” project.

The City out out a request for proposals or RFP on Oct. 8 with a deadline set for Friday, Oct. 30.
The jobs would monitor the excavations for two new new lift stations and the 3.5 miles of pipelines needed to send raw sewage out to the new treatment plant and return treated wastewater for both ocean discharge and injection into the aquifer of Morro Creek.

In a job description by City Engineer Rob Livick, “The Conveyance Facilities Project component of the City’s WRF involves constructing multiple pipelines to serve the WRF from the proposed influent lift stations. The pipelines include two parallel sewer force mains, which convey raw sewage by a lift station located at the existing wastewater treatment plant location sourced from the City’s collection system.

“The conveyance facilities also include the treated effluent (brine) disposal line from the WRF to the ocean outfall and a purified water line from the WRF to the injection wells.”

New lift stations are planned for a vacant lot next door to Lemos Ranch Store and at the current treatment plant site.
The Main Street lift station (next to Lemos Ranch) will be dug down some 30 feet and the trench for the pipes will have to be pretty large, considering that recycled water (in so-called “purple pipes”) have to separated from raw sewage pipes.
The conveyance system will run down Quintana Road from Main Street to South Bay Boulevard, a segment that is expected to disrupt traffic flow on one of the City’s main commercial zones for many months.

Biological monitoring is required to ensure no protected species of plants or animals are harmed during the tremendous amount of digging that is required.

“The selection of consultant will be based strictly on qualifications, expertise, and cost effectiveness of the proposed personnel and firm, in that order. The selected firm will provide a qualified biologist to perform the biological monitoring scope of work. Once a final fee is negotiated with the selected Consultant, based on a mutually agreed upon Scope of Work, the fee will be submitted to the City Manager or Council for approval.”

The main environmental issues with the project are possible taking of habitat for red-legged frogs and tidewater gobies, though the gobies’ critical habitat, in the brackish water of Chorro Creek where fresh and seawater mix is quite a ways from the project area.
With the frogs, the treatment plant site is smack dab in the middle of critical frog habitat, a situation that delayed the start of construction for over 6 months while the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Federal EPA consulted in the matter.
That delay and additional protections that came out of it, cost the City over $1 million in change orders.

The City is also seeking bids for archeological and paleontological monitoring services for the conveyance portions. Bids for this contract have the same deadline as the biological monitoring.

The contractor will “provide the archeological and paleontological monitoring plan requirements for culturally sensitive areas for the Conveyance Facilities Project that will require monitoring during construction.”
Environmental Sciences Associates wrote the project’s environmental impact report and Far Western, another environmental firm, put together the monitoring plan for this phase of the project.

The archeological and paleontological monitoring will be aided by Native American monitors the City will hire to handle any artifacts that might be unearthed during the digging.
“The Native American Monitors will be required to abide by the “Native American Heritage Commission Guidelines for Native American Monitors/Consultants.”

The hourly rate is $100 per hour “for routine tribal monitoring activities provided by the all tribes.”
The consultant is being required to hire a representative from the Northern Chumash Tribe, the Salinan Tribe of Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, and the Northern Chumash Tribal Council and make them part of the team.

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