After months of delay from protests by both bidders and subsequent investigations into the numerous claims, Miami-Dade County on May 20 awarded the program and construction-management contract for a $1.6-billion, federally mandated sewer-system repair project to AECOM Technical Services. The award came nearly 11 months after AECOM and sole competitor CH2M Hill submitted their proposals—and more than eight months after the county first moved to hire CH2M Hill.
The claims and counterclaims started when AECOM alleged CH2M Hill violated county rules and practices when it submitted material directly to county officials prior to an August presentation. With CH2M Hill ranked as the top choice, Miami-Dade's Internal Services Dept. on Sept. 6 sought authorization to negotiate the contract with the firm.
Before that could happen—and prior to the county's ethics chief clearing CH2M Hill of any violations—Mayor Carlos Gimenez (R) initiated an additional round of presentations before a newly assembled panel. This time, AECOM emerged as the preferred choice.
CH2M Hill then began issuing a barrage of claims that mostly asserted that AECOM misled the county about its experience. After an investigation, in late April the county's inspector general dismissed all but one of CH2M Hill's "15 plus" allegations. County officials will now finalize details of the estimated $91.1-million contract to AECOM.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-mandated consent decree project aims to eliminate sanitary-sewer overflows by upgrading wastewater treatment plants and collection and transmission systems.
In a statement to ENR, AECOM noted, "While we understand that the selection process was lengthy and arduous, we appreciate the diligence of Mayor Gimenez and the County Commissioners. We look forward to beginning the work as soon as practicable."
CH2M Hill had no comment.