Engineering contract awarded

Details of $30M tar ponds cleanup deal to be finalized

By Tanya Collier Macdonald
Cape Breton Post
Wed., Aug. 30, 2006

Sydney - An international engineering firm is finalizing one of the largest and most lucrative contracts to come from the tar ponds cleanup.

Earth Tech and local partner CBCL Ltd. will sit down with the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency next week to wrap-up a $30 million contract that will run until 2014.

"Right now, Earth Tech is the leading contender," said Frank Potter, acting chief executive officer. It was one of three competing companies vying for the contract. A fourth engineering company voluntarily withdrew from the competition early in the race.

The two-part contract begins with the design of the cleanup of the tar ponds and coke ovens sites and continues with the firm overseeing the work, which includes inspection and contract management. "Whoever we hire for various components, they'll administer the contract and make sure the contractor is fulfilling its requirements; coming in within budget and on schedule," said Potter. The firm will also work to divide the overall project into smaller jobs to give local companies the ability to compete and benefit from future work.

Evaluators ranked Earth Tech's proposal first in technical merit and local economic benefits and a close second in price. However, the bid price may be altered to reflect possible changes in the cleanup project when provincial and federal governments respond to the Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment Report released in July. Governments are now reviewing those recommendations and plan to respond by December.

In the meantime, and once the contract is signed, the firm will develop a master health and safety plan, do some administrative work and prepare a detailed schedule of the project. "We're absolutely thrilled," said Dave Wilson, a director at Earth Tech Canada. "It's one of the key projects we're involved in."

The firm has set up shop with local partner CBCL, which has an office at the corner of Charlotte and Dorchester streets in Sydney.

If the contract isn't settled with Earth Tech, negotiations will begin with the firm ranked second.