By Jim Steinberg, The Sun
Posted: 07/20/16 – 12:16 AM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The sewage treatment plant proposed by the Highland-based East Valley Water District will cost at least $150 million more to build that has been planned, San Bernardino Municipal Water Department officials say.

“A new, independent analysis of the project” shows that the Sterling Natural Resources Center project will cost approximately $300 million to construct, if built to full capacity, San Bernardino officials said in a statement released this week.

The current estimated cost for full capacity construction is $127 million, said Kelly Malloy, East Valley Water District spokeswoman.

The San Bernardino Municipal Water Department paid the Carollo Engineering firm $16,000 to conduct the cost analysis, Stacey Aldstadt, the agency’s general manager, said in a telephone interview.

Based in Walnut Creek, Carollo is an environmental engineering firm that specializes in the planning, design and construction of water and wastewater facilities.

“The Carollo study confirms that this sewage plant will be a financial disaster for our community,” Toni Callicott, president of the San Bernardino’s Board of Water Commissioners, said in a statement.

“We are once again disappointed by the approach of the city of San Bernardino, in their attempt to sway public opinion against the Sterling Natural Resources Center through fear tactics, most recently with the release of the ‘independent’ cost analysis study of our project,” East Valley Water District and San Bernardino Municipal Valley Water District officials said in a prepared statement.

Doug Headrick, general manager and chief engineer for the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, said that the study tracked costs fairly closely to East Valley estimates, until the city-hired consultants added into the estimate a 30 percent figure for contingency and 25 percent for engineering, administrative and legal costs.

Those percentages are higher than industry norms, especially since the project will be moving ahead with a “design-build” construction methodology, which reduces construction costs, Headrick said.

The two Carollo engineers involved with the study could not be reached for comment.

The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District is the lead agency in the Sterling project.

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