County approves SKI sewer construction bids
KENT ISLAND — The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners approved three construction contract bids associated with the Southern Kent Island Sanitary project during its Tuesday, Aug. 23, meeting in Centreville. The bids approved total more than $25 million. The commissioners approved the contracts in a 3-2 vote with Commissioners Steve Wilson and Robert Buckey opposing.
The county received six bids total for the three projects for phase one of the four phase sewer project. The bids received were for septic tank effluent pump installation, community mains installation and the transmission main installation. Cole Ventures of Annapolis won the STEP installation contract with bid of $15,600,150. Schummer Inc. of Mayo won the community main installation contract with a bid of $6,191,750 and the transmission main installation contract with a bid of $7,025,316.
All six bids were approved by the county attorney as well as the Maryland Department of the Environment. The bids were approved by the commissioners on the condition that each approved bid is again approved by MDE.
Phase one, which has an anticipated beginning date around November, County Administrator Gregg Todd said, includes the Kent Island Estates and the Romancoke on the Bay communities. The subdivisions affected by the remaining three phases are as follows: Tower Gardens, phase two; Kentmorr and Queen Anne Colony, phase three; and Sunny Isle of Kent and Chesapeake Estates, phase four.
Due to failing on-site septic disposal systems causing some residents to have raw sewage in their backyards, as well as trouble selling their properties because of the problem, the estimated 10-year total project will create on-site Sanitar y Tank Effluent Pump (STEP) systems. The nine communities to receive future ser vice comprise 1,518 existing single family residential homes, eight non-residential uses and a maximum of 632 vacant infill lots.
Public sewer infrastructure will be created during phase one, including the creation of the transmission force main along Maryland Route 8 needed for the remaining three phases. The eight-mile sewer transmission main will extend from the county’s enhanced nutrient removal wastewater treatment plant. Onsite STEP system installation will take place, ser ving about 775 properties. Phase one is estimated to be completed in five years.
When all phases of the sanitary project are completed about 775 improved properties will receive a STEP system. The project is being paid for through a Bay Restoration Grant through the Maryland Department of the Environment and a Water Quality revolving loan. Working with MDE, the county increased its Bay Restoration Grant from $7,750 per home to $10,000 per home, totaling $15,260,000 for the life of the project, Todd said.
Funds from new users hooked up to the operation also will be used to pay for the project. The special assessment project, which means its paid for by the new users, will include a $70 per month debt payment for infrastructure with a remaining per month fee to go toward operation and maintenance of the new sewer system.
Todd said that MDE has 45 to 60 days to approve the three bids the commissioners initially approved, and then, if acceptable, construction can begin.
The county worked with MDE to lower the per monthly cost for households as initial project bids came in higher than anticipated. The county is aiming for homeowner assessments to be about $100 per month.
A document on the county website, www.qac.org, created by the county’s Department of Housing and Community Services lists various financial assistance methods for individuals affected by the SKI project. Potential funding sources include grants and loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development 504, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and Queen Anne’s County’s revolving loan funds. Further information regarding specifics of the financing assistance can be found on the document or by contacting Mickey Lomax or Mike Clark at 410-758-3977.
Follow Mike Davis on Twitter: @mike_kibaytimes.com.
Phase One of the Southern Kent Island Sewer Project includes the communities of Kent Island Estates and Romancoke on the Bay.