On October 20th, 2020, following a competitive bidding process, USW Utility Group (USWUG) was awarded the contract for the operations, maintenance, and management of the City of Mercedes, Texas utility system. In addition, they will begin the water and wastewater facilities and lift station maintenance contract on January 1st, 2021. The initial term of the agreement is for five years with optional extensions based on performance.
The City of Mercedes underwent a rigorous Request For Proposal (RFP) process, which was comprised of four firms including USWUG. While the cost of the contract was a factor, price alone was not the sole determinant in selecting the most qualified and best fit for the city. In addition to a guaranteed price, the contractor providing professional management, technical expertise, and financial controls for water and wastewater operations, with a proven track record was identified as the key to achieving maximum benefit from a private contractor for operations and maintenance and therefore the selection process for professional operations and maintenance services were based on the ‘most qualified, responsive, resourceful, and experienced’ contractor that best met the specific operating needs of the city. The City of Mercedes formed a selection committee to review all proposals and make a recommendation to the city commission based on the above criteria. The committee was composed of city management, public works, and legal representatives. After all proposals were thoroughly reviewed and rated, the committee recommended that USWUG be awarded the contract.
The City of Mercedes systems consist of one wastewater treatment plant with a designed capacity of 5 million gallons per day (MGD), which currently treats an annual average daily flow of 1.6 MGD, 36 lift stations in operation, a water treatment plant with a designed capacity of 3.78 MGD, which currently treats an annual average daily flow of 2.2 MGD, and two 750,000 gallons elevated storage tanks in operation. The city serves 4,800 connections with a population of 16,564. USWUG will have a total of 13 full-time employees, with currently 11 employees hired. This project is valued at $1,86 MM annually.
Under the agreement, USWUG provides the city of Mercedes with all required labor and supervision for the operations and maintenance of the water plant, water tower, wastewater plant, and lift stations. The work includes the treatment of potable water, treatment of wastewater, operation of lift stations, collective and preventative maintenance of city-owned appurtenances and equipment, as well as preparation of repair reports and other services.