Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
The city of Gardner awarded a $312,882 contract to Burns and McDonnel and CAS Constructors LLC for the preliminary design of the Hillsdale Water Treatment plant expansion during a council meeting April 1.
Last summer Gardner implemented water rationing; however, despite water restrictions, Gardner was not at capacity in their raw water allotment from Hillsdale Lake. The problem was due to plant capacity which reached 80 percent in July 2012 and was at 90 percent when restrictions were put in place July, 2018.
The contract is part of a multi-million expansion project of the treatment plant that will enable the treatment of an extra two million gallons of water per day.
Gonz Garcia, utilities director, told the cpimco; that a selection committee comprised of five senior city staff members reviewed bids from three teams including Crossland Heavy
Contractors-Midwest engineering Group and Goodwin Brothers-CMT.
“After review and interviews the committee unanimously chose the joint venture group of Burns and McDonnel-CAS Construction,” he said.
He said the committee considered the teams’ local roots including an in-depth knowledge of local supplies and labor market, experience in design-build projects and a proposal by the team to accelerate the schedule to deliver one million gallons daily by the summer of 2020.
Garcia told the council that Water 7, a regional water supplier, is in discussions to join Gardner in the project
“If they join us in cost sharing or a commitment to buy water wholesale, then we may go to four million gallons a day,” he said.
Burns and McDonnell is the company that conducted a study last year that recommended the city expand it water treatment facilities.

In other business:
During the meeting, the council adopted an ordinance adopting a revised base salary structure for city employees.
Under the new structure, the police department will see the addition of a new position- Police Officer II.
A police officer with a minimum of five years experience and a minimum performance rating of “excellent” on their annual evaluation would have their title changed to Police officer II.
The structure would also reward water and wastewater plant operators who attend and pass state administered exams while maintaining a satisfactory work record.
Alan Abramovitz, human resource manager, said the changes would encourage morale, help retain employees and encourage higher quality service.
Abramovitz estimated that the changes for wastewater staff would cost the city $9,400 in 2019 while the new police designation would cost the city $10,800.