U.S. Water News Online
DES MOINES, Iowa-- An experimental project to test whether treated water can be stored deep underground in sandstone until it is needed has been given the okay even though construction bids were way over estimate, according to Des Moines Water Works director L. D. McMullen.
The waterworks board, at McMullen's suggestion, delayed action on contracts for work on a well and related piping needed to store the water in a sandstone aquifer far below ground. The project would mark the deepest underground storage of drinking water in U.S. history, the waterworks said.
Randy Beavers, waterworks engineering director, said the low bid for the well work -- $443,000, offered by C.L. Carroll, Inc. -- was 50 percent higher than the estimate of $295,000 provided by consultants CH2M HILL, considered a leader in this type of project.
McMullen said the project, which will be financed in part by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant, should proceed as planned, though some of the work may be scaled back.
Beavers said once EPA has approved the final plan, the waterworks will award the contract for the rehabilitation of the well which will be used to store the water. They expect construction of the storage facility to be complete by the end of the year.
The pilot test, to ensure water quality is maintained over the course of storage, is expected to be complete by the following year.
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