City approves water plant contract

by HEIDI DESCH
Editor | July 28, 2020 2:17 PM

The expansion of the City of Whitefish’s water treatment plant has been approved with a construction contact of $9.3 million.

City Council last week awarded the project that looks to expand the plant’s treatment capacity to Swank Enterprises. The bid came in about 7% below the engineer’s estimate for the project which was $9.6 million.

Work on the project is set to begin next month.

The city will use $1.3 million in reserves and another $11 million in State Revolving Fund loans to fund the entire cost of the project.

The main work of the project includes expanding the water treatment plant to increase the number of filters at the plant. The city treats water from Haskill Creek and Whitefish Lake to be used for drinking water.

The city is being required by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to complete the upgrade to increase its water treatment capacity at the plant.

Public Works Director Craig Workman said the city is being required to increase its firm capacity to allow for water main extension and future growth.

“It’s only a concern for a few days per year for during the peak season,” he said. “We’ve known for awhile that we needed this expansion.”

Whitefish operates what’s termed as 3 million gallons of firm capacity water treatment plant.

The expansion will add two additional 1 million gallon per day treatment systems, bringing the plant’s firm treatment capacity to 5 million gallons per day, which is calculated with one filter taken out of service.

In addition to the actual expansion of the water plant, there are several other items that will need to be accomplished to expand capacity. Those include the expansion of the Whitefish Lake intake pump station, installation of a parallel water main to the treatment plan and extension of the city’s sanitary sewer to the water plant.

DEQ last spring began prohibiting any new water extension or connections due to concerns that the city was approaching its threshold for water storage and water source treatment capacity. In August, DEQ granted the city a deviation variance that allows new water connections again while the city works to increase its water system capacity.