Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Water treatment plant means welcome work for companies

NED B. HUNTER Updated: March 20, 2013 at 12:00 am

It is only one project.

It will last just six months.

But the $1 million contract awarded to Springs Fabrication Inc. from Colorado Springs Utilities is enough to keep company founder and president Tom Neppl from laying off workers.

Springs Fabrication is one of more than 70 companies — including more than 30 in Colorado — that will help build a water treatment plant on the east side of Colorado Springs. The nearly $125 million plant, east of Marksheffel Road between U.S. 24 and Colorado 94, will treat up to 50 million gallons of water per day when completed in 2016.

Ground was broken Wednesday for the plant, part of the Southern Delivery System that will deliver water from the Pueblo Reservoir to Colorado Springs, Fountain, Security and Pueblo West.

Springs Fabrication  manufactures tanks, piping and pressure vessels. The company has about 185 employees, most of who are likely secure in their jobs for at least another six months, Neppl said.

“It is an important job,” he said of the treatment plantwork. “It has been a competitive market for the past four years.”

Springs Fabrication supplies equipment to companies in the oil and gas and power plant industries. The majority of those orders come from outside the Pikes Peak region. The fact that the company’s Utilities contract allows it to deliver its products within the city should help Springs Fabrication strengthen its bottom line by reducing shipping costs, Neppl said.

The 82,000 square-foot water treatment plant will use ozone/biological filtration to treat water piped from the Pueblo Reservoir. The plant’s capacity can be expanded to treat up to 130 million gallons of water per day based on future demand.

Construction of the plant, one of the largest components of SDS, comes as the Colorado Springs area continues to see an unemployment rate above the national and state rates; the Springs jobless rate was 9 percent in December.

Harris Rebar was awarded a contract of just more than $6 million to supply more than 5,000 tons of reinforced steel rebar for the water treatment plant, said Dan Johnson, chief estimator and sales manager for the company. The rebar will be used to reinforce concrete walls and other structures that make up the treatment plant.

Harris Rebar will be involved in the project for more than a year. The contract allows the company to add around 20 employees, Johnson said.

“There will be new hires to help with the fabrication in the shop,” he said, “and the placing in the field.”

Johnson called the project “a great opportunity” for Harris Rebar, which is headquartered in Ontario, Canada, and opened a facility in the Springs four years ago.

“It is great for the company because it helps us get our name out there,” Johnson said, “and helps secure our future.”

Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275

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