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Feb. 27, 2021

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Water Station 1: Vancouver awards $20.5M bid for work

Local contractor Rotschy gets contract

By , Columbian staff writer
2 Photos
Water Station 1 is pictured in Vancouver on Thursday afternoon.
Water Station 1 is pictured in Vancouver on Thursday afternoon. Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian Photo Gallery

The city of Vancouver awarded a $20.5 million bid for the second phase of its Water Station 1 overhaul, part of an ongoing project that will revitalize one of the oldest and most critical pieces of infrastructure in the city.

Vancouver-based contracting business Rotschy Inc. won the project earlier this week with a bid of $20,501,041, the lowest of three received by the city. Ward-Henshaw Construction Co. Inc. in Canby, Ore., and Emery & Sons Construction Group LLC in Salem, Ore., also put in bids for the project.

“We’re just happy we got a good local contractor on board. We got a really good price on it,” said Tyler Clary, water engineering manager for the Vancouver Public Works Department. “We’ve worked with them in the past on projects.”

This isn’t Rotschy’s first major local public contract — in 2016 the company worked with the Washington State Department of Transportation on an $84.4 million project to widen Interstate 502 near Battle Ground. Last year, it completed a $15.8 million contract with the Port of Vancouver to expand the rail corridor.

“We’ve done several $20 million projects, but there’s just not many of those projects around,” said Darin Kysar, Rotschy’s project manager for the water station contract.

Water Station 1, in Waterworks Park near Clark College and East Fourth Plain Boulevard, has been in operation since the early 1900s. It now fulfills about a third of Vancouver’s water needs with two reservoirs and a water tower that together hold 5 million gallons. It has more than double the capacity of the city’s second-largest water service facility, Water Station 9.

“Gravity moves water downtown, but we have multiple pump stations at the site, and we can move water as far as 192nd Avenue,” Clary said. “It could ultimately go to anybody in our system through pumping.”

By the end of the three-phase overhaul, Water Station 1 will have increased its capacity by about 3 million gallons.

The first phase of the project began in 2016 and cost about $12 million. It saw the construction of a new tower booster pump station, a new treatment building and upgrades to lighting and pathways.

The second phase, expected to kick off next month and last until October 2021, is the most comprehensive and expensive. In addition to replacing the two reservoirs and adding more storage capacity, the existing water tower will be replaced by a 1-million-gallon standpipe. Rotschy will also build a new entrance along East Reserve Street and improve pedestrian and bike paths, as well as upgrade the station’s security system.

None of it should interrupt water service, according to Clary.

“We have a construction phased in such a way that we’re going to build one reservoir, bring it into service, then tear out the existing reservoir at the site and build the new one in place of that one,” Clary said.

Comparatively, Phase 3 should be quick and easy, just involving the replacement of three wells at the site.

To fund the overhaul — expected to total between $35 million and $40 million, when all is said and done — the Vancouver City Council approved a 5 percent annual rate increase from 2016 through 2020.

Work on Water Station 1 should wrap near the end of 2022. Then, it’s on to the next. Water Station 5 is up next in the city’s prioritized upgrade queue, followed by Water Station 3.