The Greater Texoma Utility Authority discussed two Sherman water projects earlier this week, approving a $1.53 million pipeline contract and a $140,000 change order to the city’s ongoing water treatment plant expansion project.

In a unanimous decision, the board awarded a $1.53 million contract for the construction of a new sewer pipeline to Lynn Vessels Construction. The nearly 10,000-foot-long pipeline will connect the Blalock Industrial Park to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

David Gattis, representing engineering firm Freeman-Millican, said the project is effectively two water projects in one and will involve the replacement of sewer line originally placed in 1974. Gattis noted that the contract bid was placed prior to the recent hurricanes that have hit Texas and Florida. As such, he said the price of PVC pipes may change due to the damage and rebuilding, and a change order may be needed to address that change in price.

Sherman Director of Utilities Mark Gibson said the new pipeline will primarily service the industrial park and neighboring areas. As work and development at the industrial park is expected to increase, the city needed to increase the capacity of the area sewer service, he said.

The project was initially put to bid in August and received eight bids, with the Lynn Vessels’ bid coming in as the low bid. The high bid for the project did have a conforming bid bond and was eliminated from consideration. The highest conforming bid came in at $2.17 million.

GTUA General Manager Drew Satterwhite said he was happy with the bidding process, noting that the top three bids came within 1 percent of each other.

“It was a very competitive bidding process with a lot of interest,” he said.

In a separate action, the board approved the first change order in the ongoing $23.94 million expansion of the Sherman water treatment plant. This first change order increased the price for the project by $140,000 to the current estimate.

The change order was needed due to three changes in the project as development has taken place. Due to changes in the bedrock elevation, construction crews needed to excavate the site more than originally anticipated. This created a need for some of the support piers to go deeper than initially anticipated, creating additional costs.

Additionally, crews anticipated that piers supporting another portion of the building would need to touch bedrock and ordered additional rebar for this. Ultimately, this material will not be needed.

Satterwhite said he feels this change order is fair, considering the large scope and price of the project. As the project moves forward, Satterwhite did not rule out the possibility of more change orders on the project.

The expansion of Sherman’s water treatment plant will double its daily capacity and see the installation of a membrane filtration system to update the facility’s filtering technology. The expansion will allow the plant to increase its water treatment capacity from 10 million gallons per day to 20 million gallons, which city officials have said will benefit Sherman and the surrounding areas.

The two actions by the GTUA Monday were supported by the Sherman City Council, who voted on matching items Monday night during a separate meeting.