By ERIC X. VICCARO
Roughly a decade ago, Alliance Water Resources signed a 10-year contract to provide water- and sewer-related services to the city of Ste. Genevieve.
In many ways, Alliance has resurrected what was once considered a failing water and sewer system.
However, that hasn’t precluded the city from possibly going in a different direction.
Water/sewer contract operation requests for qualifications are due by 5 p.m. this Thursday at city hall.
Three months ago, a subcommittee comprised of Ward 2 Alderman Bob Donovan and Ward 4 representatives Joe Prince and Ashley Armbruster formed to discuss the current water/sewer contract provider.
Ste. Genevieve city administrator Happy Welch noted the city has not received any submittals yet.
However, Welch noted many RFQs aren’t typically turned into city hall until the day they are due – with companies sending a representative to deliver in person.
Welch said the aim is to receive packets, then distribute them to the subcommittee members for review.
“We will possibly set up some interviews and tours to check out those who have submitted based on the scores provided by committee members,” Welch said in his city administrator’s report during the board of aldermen meeting on Thursday, April 8.
Welch said elected officials will then pick a preferred company, and negotiate a price.
“The schedule is to have a recommendation to the board in July for approval in August,” Welch added.
The current contract expires in October. The city renewed with Alliance Water Resources for one year in 2020, Welch noted.
Alliance Water Resources covers a four-state area – Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee – with the state headquarters located in Columbia.
The company was founded in 1976, with Alliance touting itself on the corporate website: alliancewater.com.
“Alliance has been nationally recognized as a water and wastewater treatment industry pioneer,” said the company on its website, “an innovator, a business and financial problem solver and a technology leader with the clear understanding of local communities.”
Welch reported Alliance is actively pursuing a new contract with the city, and district manager Ron Smith was present at Thursday’s aldermanic meeting.
The length of the next contract will ultimately be up to the board of aldermen, but the hope is to mirror the previous decade-long deal.
Alliance’s local system manager Steve Wilson also spoke to the board on matters pertaining to the American Relief Plan (ARP) – the latest round of federal money stemming from the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic – during its work session.
Wilson provided an extensive wish list of improvements the city could make to its water and sewers through plan money.
In a September 2019 meeting, former city administrator Martin Toma recapped how Alliance had solved the city’s water system problems of the early 2010s.
In 2007 the city was found to be in violation of the Clean Water Act, which Toma said “was no slap on the wrist.” Rather, continued noncompliance could have led to prison time for officials.
A consent decree had to be negotiated with the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources [DNR] to set up a plan to improve things. In December 2009 the EPA signed off on a five-year plan. That involved contracting with Alliance to take care of the water plant and later the sewer system.
That consent decree was terminated in 2015, due to the progress made.
“Today, DNR brings people here to show them how a water and sewer operation should be done,” Toma said in 2019. “So we certainly changed our reputation within the regulatory world.”
(Read a story on the work session in the forthcoming April 21 edition.)
Welch addressed other matters in his report, leading off with a street repaving program pre-bid meeting also slated for this Thursday at 10 a.m.
The meeting is not mandatory; however, the meeting will help the city answer questions, clarify expectations and get an idea of who would be most interested in the work.
“We have sent packets out to four contractors, and will be advertising in the newspaper (Herald) as well,” said Welch, who noted a fifth party also is interested in performing the repaving project.
High priority streets are North Fourth Street at the intersection of Riverview, Washington and Wehner, Hillcrest at Seraphin, Parkwood and Linn Drive adjacent to State Highway 32.