Houston County commissioners select firm to install landfill’s methane recovery system

PERRY – The Houston County Commission chose an Atlanta firm Wednesday to install a new methane gas recovery system at the county landfill.

Commissioners selected SCS Engineers of Atlanta, which had the low bid of $1,210,907. The firm scored the highest of the three finalists in the criteria developed by the county and reviewed by Atlantic Coast Consulting, the company hired to oversee the process.

Peed Brothers of Butler bid $1,411,092 and Cooper, Page & Barnette of Statham bid $1,690,753.

County Director of Operations Tommy Stalnaker said SCS should be able to begin work in about a month, and that it will take about eight months to complete the project that includes establishing 49 wells, piping and flare burners in the now closed phases 1 and 2 of the 200-acre landfill on Ga. 247 in the southeast part of the county.

“We’ve already had flares working in phase 1, which was closed in 1990. Now we’re adding to them and new wells in phase 2, which is a 38-acre section that was closed last year,” Stalnaker said.

The county is in final negotiations with Flint Energies on a contract for the power company to establish a generating plant at the landfill that will use the methane to run the generators to produce electricity.

“The estimate is that we’ll have enough methane for them to generate electricity for about 16,000 homes,” said Commissioner Tom McMichael.

Stalnaker said county officials had also talked with companies wanting to use the methane for power or heat at local industries such as Frito Lay and Houston American Cement before deciding to focus on Flint Energy.

Commission Chairman Ned Sanders said because electricity produced from landfill methane is considered green power, it can earn credit for the county in various programs designed to limit pollution and decrease the use of fossil fuels.

Stalnaker said it will take about a year to build the generating plant, substation and transmission lines needed to make the power plant operational. Until then, the methane will be burned off in the flares.

“We have to have the methane system in place by the end of the year to meet environmental regulation requirements,” he said. “I know Flint would like to move quickly to cut down the time the gas is simply being burned off, because each phase of the landfill only produces methane in sufficient quantities for about 30 years,” he said.

Wednesday, the commissioners also:

Ÿ Accepted a bid of $1,355,217 from Georgia Asphalt Inc. to widen 1.2 miles of Thomson Road between Houston Lake Road and U.S. 41. Georgia Asphalt had the second lowest of seven bids, ranging from $1.935 million to $1.348 million, but it had the highest evaluation score.

Stalnaker said the road will be widened to three lanes with curbs, gutters and sidewalks, similar to the work recently completed on Feagin Mill Road. He said work should begin in the next 30 days and that the project will take about a year to complete.

Ÿ Chose Dublin Construction over two other companies to serve as construction manager for the expansion at the Houston County Jail. Two new pods, each with 80 beds, are to be added to the facility.

Dublin Construction will be paid $714,410 for overseeing the project, which the county now estimates will cost about $8 million.

Original plans called for adding two large pods and two smaller pods, but the $9 million estimated cost was more than the county could afford, so the addition has been scaled back by about a third to the two large pods. Stalnaker said new bids are expected within a month and that construction should begin by the end of March. The work should be completed by late this year or early 2010, he said.

Ÿ Chose International City Builders to be the construction managers for a new environmental health building to be built adjacent to the existing health department on Cohen Walker Boulevard. It will be paid $140,801 to oversee construction of the one-story building, which is expected to cost $500,000 to $600,000.

Stalnaker again said work should begin within a month and that the building should be completed by the end of July.

“We’re finding that with the economy the way it is, we’re getting more people to bid on projects and they are ready to go right to work,” Stalnaker said. “And the subcontractors they are using are the same. Everyone is looking for work, so that means we can get things done a little quicker.”

Ÿ Accepted the low bid of $114,451 from Pyles Plumbing & Utilities Contractors to perform modifications at the Ga. 96 water plant.

Ÿ Agreed to deposit $9 million in investment funds at Security Bank, which offered the highest returns among four banks that bid. The money is being split into six $1.5 million blocks that will have varying maturing dates a month apart beginning in June and running through November.

Ÿ Approved a request from the Rehoboth Baptist Association to establish a dental clinic in a former parsonage next door to the church building it owns at the corner of U.S. 41 and Tharpe Road. The association has sponsored an annual dental clinic day for migrant workers for several years and wants to expand the program to a once monthly service to those without insurance or who cannot afford dental care. Local dentists volunteer their services.

Ÿ Appointed Deborah Carriker to complete the term of Edward Lusk, who resigned, on the Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases Region Four Planning Board. Carriker is executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Central Georgia, and Lusk said in his resignation letter he thought she would be more qualified to serve. The term expires June 30, 2011.

To contact writer Chuck Thompson, call 923-6199, extension 235.