By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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The Port of Port Angeles is expecting to pay up to $1.9 million to demolish the buildings and dispose of any hazardous materials that might be found in them, according to port budget planning documents.
Of the seven bids received, the lowest acceptable bid, which staff members said they bumped up to the top of the list after the first- and second-lowest were thrown out because of errors, came from Tacoma-based Rhine Demolition LLC at roughly $1.6 million.
With bids received and the lowest identified, port staff now have two months to recommend that port commissioners award the bid or seek out more bid proposals, port public works manager Chris Hartman said at Friday’s commissioners’ meeting.
The port became responsible for the mill late last year after the business succumbed to debt and closed down.
The 70-year-old mill, most recently reopened under the PenPly name in March 2010, went under owing the port and the state Department of Labor & Industries $2.4 million.
The port engineer’s estimate for the demolition project ranged from $1.4 million to $1.9 million, Hartman said, citing the unknown amount of salvageable material that could be gleaned from the mill site once the buildings are knocked down.
The contractor, once chosen, would be able to offset some costs by selling recyclable material from the site, Hartman explained.
Anderson Environmental Contracting submitted a $1.5 million bid but failed to submit necessary follow-up paperwork, Hartman said.
The lowest bid by far came from 3 Kings Environmental Inc., based in Battle Ground, at roughly $961,000. This contractor, however, asked to retract the bid because of a calculation error on its end, Hartman said.
3 Kings Environmental will now have to provide proof an error if they want the bid bond, paid to the port at 5 percent of the bid, to be returned, Hartford explained. Normally, contractors would not get this bond back if they retract their bid.
Hartman could not give an estimate as to when demolition might start at the PenPly site but said port staff want work to begin as soon as the chosen contractor is able.
Port officials have said in the past that demolition could start as early as December.
“The sooner we’re able to bring those buildings down, the better we’ll be off financially,” Hartman said.
In preparation for the demolition work, the port has spent about $50,000, mostly in maintenance staff costs, by removing aged machinery from the PenPly buildings and making the structures safe for contractor walkthroughs, Hartman said.
A chunk of the $50,000 also went to private environmental consultants studying what needs to be done to remove any hazardous materials found while demolishing the buildings.
The port also has spent about $150,000, mostly in utility costs, on the PenPly buildings since it took responsibility for the site in December of last year, Hartman said.
Demolition work will remove only the above-ground structures at the PenPly site, which sits on a 19-acre downtown parcel off Marine Drive, Hartman said.
“This project takes everything done to the ground,” he said.
Once the buildings are gone, work can begin on removing any soil contaminated with hazardous chemicals left over from the mill’s operation.
The port and the state Department of Ecology are in the process of hammering out an agreement that will detail how this cleanup proceeds.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.