Written by: Brenda Koenig
Water and wastewater systems can be some of a community’s largest investments, so it is really important to get it right—decisions made in the early stages of infrastructure planning can impact a community for generations to come.
Community leaders are often tempted to let an outside consultant completely handle the project because they are worried they don’t have the expertise to make the right decisions. However, it is important to stay actively involved so that the community’s voice is not lost and the project is appropriate, affordable, and supported by the public.
Indeed one of the most critical early-stage decisions in this process is who to hire as your engineer, the person who will be involved in nearly every aspect of the project from evaluating financing options, completing designs, obtaining permits, bidding the project, and the actual construction. And make no mistake, this hiring process can be a challenging task. Luckily, WaterOperator.org has a collection of resources to help you through.
For example, this RCAP guide explains the steps that communities can take to gain control of the
For more information regarding the QBS process, you can read this manual from Ohio Qualification Based Selection Coalition (while some of the
Other helpful resources in our library include Washington State DOH’s guide for small public water systems on how to hire an engineer. Included in this guide are considerations regarding how to determine the costs of services provided. Idaho’s DEQ also has an engineer hiring guide that includes questions to ask during the interview. And this MAP guide emphasizes the importance of having a survey or analysis of the condition of your present system, as well as the problems a new project will address. This “Scope of Work,” according to MAP, is perhaps the most essential part of your Request for Proposals when searching for an engineer.
A final but valuable, piece of advice, repeated throughout these resources, is that selection should be based on demonstrated competence and qualifications and not on price for services rendered. In this way, you can ensure that the project will be a valued community asset for years to come.
This article was submitted by WaterOperator.org. WaterOperator.org aggregates the best resources on the web for small events added annually and 17,000+ free resources indexed in the database, our staff maintain updated information from more than 800 state and national organizations. The program is a collaboration between the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc. (RCAP) and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with funding from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.