Florida releases draft RFQ for biosolids facility

Miami-Dade County is inviting public comments before releasing an RFQ for the procurement of a biosolids processing facility, which would be the first water sector P3 in Florida.

The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (MDWASD) issued a draft Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the design, building, financing, operation and maintenance of a biosolids processing facility, one of several water and wastewater projects the department has included in its Capital Improvements Plan (CIP).

The agency is soliciting public comments before it issues a final RFQ for the project.

“One of the significant projects in the CIP is the Biosolids Processing Facility (BPF),” WASD wrote in a letter accompanying the RFQ. “The South District Wastewater Treatment Plant and Central District BPF seeks to improve WASD’s reliability in biosolids handling service and quality by the implementation of the BPF Programme, which will benefit consumers in the entire Miami-Dade County, as well as farmers in general and in south Miami-Dade are, in addition to environmental benefits,” the agency said.

The draft RFQ comes just less than a year since WASD invited the private sector to submit expressions of interest, which resulted in 32 responses. Of those, 11 respondents had expressed preference for a financing component.

The project, which at this stage is estimated to cost $135 million, involves building a new plant in order to decommission satellite plants that have been in service for more than 40 years.

In addition to building, financing and operating a biosolids processing facility for the South District Wastewater Treatment Plant (SDWWTP) and the Central District WWTP (CDWWTP), the private sector partner awarded the project would also be responsible for transporting dewatered biosolids from the CDWWTP and the SDWWTP to the BPF; producing a high-quality, reusable product such as soil additive, biofuel or fertilizer; as well as developing a monitoring, record keeping and reporting programme to measure the quantity of material processed and identify and track where material is used.

The procurement process is expected to be completed in two phases. The first will entail an interim agreement for certain planning, development, design, and financing services for the project, according to a document released by Miami Dade County. Phase two would be the awarding of a comprehensive agreement that may include the final design, permitting, construction, financing, and operation and maintenance of the project.

Those interested in contributing to the draft RFQ have until June 5 to do so.

MDWASD is the largest water and sewer utility in the south-eastern US, serving nearly 2.3 million residents. The department provides water and wastewater services to the unincorporated areas of Miami Dade County, wholesale water services to 14 municipalities, and wholesale wastewater services to 11 municipalities.