BROOKSVILLE — With prices ranging from $7.2 million to $12.8 million, four firms spent hours Monday trying to convince the Hernando County Commission that their proposal was the one that would finally accomplish the long-awaited Hernando Beach Channel dredging project.
Commissioners are expected to discuss their rankings and likely choose a company during today's regular commission meeting.
At the board's special meeting Monday, commissioners opened the sealed bids hoping they would get a better price than the last bid on the project because they had since altered the permit to provide more flexibility.
That bid was $8.8 million, by Tampa-based BCPeabody Construction Services. BCPeabody's bid this time was $8,721,839.
One company came in lower, Center Contracting Corp. of Heathrow, which bid $7,189,000. Great Lakes Dredge and Dock of Burlington, Iowa, bid $10,510,000, and C.F. Bean of Belle Chase, La., bid $12,788,400.
Two other firms had submitted their qualifications last week but pulled out and did not follow through with a bid.
Each of the firms presenting on Monday had a slightly different approach to the project.
The low bidder, Center Contracting Corp., proposed a different type of process from the other three. Instead of dredging sand and fine materials from the channel and pumping it to be filtered at the county's old wastewater treatment plant site on Shoal Line Boulevard, Center Contracting has proposed filtering the spoils on barges in the water.
Spoils would be piped into giant filtering bags inside containers. The water would filter out and the containers of dry material would be hauled away.
BCPeabody presented largely the same plan as last time using various filtering devices and settling ponds to separate the water from the sand and silt before returning the water to the canal.
Great Lakes Dredge proposed using a complex filtering system and C.F. Bean suggested an alternative place to pipe filtered water.
While each of the firms described the dredging process as difficult, much of the focus was on proper separation of water from sediment because that is where the dredge project has failed.
The county has about $4.5 million available for the project, and officials have discussed various options to cover the rest of the cost. Those will be presented at a special meeting on March 15.
The county found the previous dredging firm, Orion Dredging Services, in breach of its contract and Orion sued the county.
The job must be done by Jan. 1, 2012, or the county loses state funding.