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Bid notices yield gems of information

By Ann Knoedler

This is the time of year, commonly known as “construction season,” when the construction data reporters at The Daily Reporter typically process a tremendous amount of bid notices.

We especially see a lot of infrastructure projects: road work, underground utilities, water treatment plants, wastewater treatment plants, pump stations, sewage lift stations, bridges, and the list goes on.

There’s a certain sameness about the infrastructure bid notices. They don’t throw many surprises at us. That’s not a bad thing, that’s just the way they are. I think of them as the nuts and bolts of the construction season.

The majority of these bid notices list fairly standard requirements and types of work. But every once in a while a bid notice comes along with requirements that are somewhat out of the ordinary.

• Richland Center/Wastewater Treatment Facility Site Archaeological Site Scraping Project

• Eau Pleine Valley Well Field Project (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds-ARRA), Abbotsford

Here are a couple of examples from last week:

• The city of Richland Center will be opening bids June 24 for its “2010 Wastewater Facility Site Archaeological Site Scraping Project” at County Trunk Highway TB. The mention of archaeological site scraping is what caught my interest –- that’s a rarity for us when reporting bid notices.

This site, which is where the city is planning to build a new Wastewater Treatment Plant, was identified in the late 1800s as having Indian mounds. However, the mounds are not visible. So the city needs to make sure before proceeding with construction there.

The entire site will be stripped in two phases, both of which must be observed by archaeologists. There will be four archaeologists assigned to the project, one for each piece of equipment. If archaeological features are found in the trenches created by the scraper, the archaeologist will flag the area for further investigation and the scraper will have to stop work in that area until that investigation is completed.

The project engineer is Town & Country Engineering Inc., Madison.

This is an area rich in archaeological findings. Richland County has six identified Indian mound locations and there is the “Richland Center Archaeological District.”

• The city of Abbotsford is also opening bids on June 24. Called the “Eau Pleine Valley Well Field Project,” it sounds like a typical infrastructure project. But the bid notice specifies that “as a condition of the bid, the successful bidder must have experience locating productive municipal wells in areas of the state with similar soil/aquifer conditions to Abbotsford which includes silty sandy clay and Precambrian rock fractures and with municipalities that have had difficulty locating sufficient water supplies.”

I wonder if that’s going to be a tough requirement to fulfill.

Abbotsford struggles with chronic water shortage issues and now has a plan to bid and build a new water system project in phases. When the project is completed the city will end up with a well field (12 wells), a water treatment plant, pumphouses and connecting water main. The project engineer is Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc., Chippewa Falls.

These little gems of information add to our knowledge of Wisconsin and provide us with more insight into specific regions of the state. It would be fascinating to shadow one of the archaeologists in Richland Center, just in case they do find some artifacts.

Ann Knoedler is the lead data reporter at The Daily Reporter. She can be reached at (414) 225-1822.

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