Water and wastewater agencies in the Bay Area are working together to purchase chemicals by combining bid solicitations under the name of the Bay Area Chemical Consortium (BACC). BACC is an informal cooperative that advertises and opens sealed competitive bids and then prepares bid recommendations. Once bids are opened, participating public agencies enter into their own contracts with the lowest responsive bidder.
Combined bid solicitations offer vendors an opportunity to sell greater quantities of their products. As a result, participating agencies usually obtain lower prices than by bidding alone. Because more than 50 public agencies are now participating, significant savings for chemical purchases are being passed along to the agencies’ water and wastewater customers.
Frequently Asked Questions
On what products does the consortium bid?
In 2016 BACC solicited bids for aluminum sulfate, ammonium sulfate, aqueous ammonia, calcium nitrate, citric acid, ferric chloride, ferrous chloride, hydrofluosilicic acid (fluoride), hydrogen peroxide, liquid chlorine, polymers, sodium bisulfite, sodium hydroxide (caustic), sodium hypochorite (hypo), sulfur dioxide, and sulfuric acid.
How much are member agencies saving?
Savings vary, but some consortium members have saved 20 percent or more by participating in BACC bids.
How are bids prepared and advertised?
DSRSD is currently serving as the coordinating agency for BACC and handles administration:
- Schedules meetings or conference calls to open bids or resolve any issues;
- Emails consortium members to determine which agencies want to participate in specific bids, estimated quantities, and product specifications;
- Circulates proposed bid documents to members for comments;
- Sends bid solicitations by email and regular mail to a list of vendors and advertises in the Bay Area News Group newspapers;
- Hosts bid openings and provides bid reviews and recommendations for the membership.
When is bidding conducted?
Bidding is conducted in the spring in order to open bids and produce bid recommendations by early May of each year. In this way, members can obtain Board approval if necessary before the beginning of the new fiscal year. Bids are solicited for purchases to be made between July 1 and June 30 of each year.
How do members manage vendor contracts and purchase orders?
BACC’s role essentially ends once bid recommendations are prepared. Individual member agencies are responsible for entering into contracts with the successful bidder. However, BACC does provide assistance if an agency runs into a problem dealing with a vendor after the bids are awarded. Bid documents are written to allow for extending the bid beyond the one year period if an agency so desires. Each agency coordinates its own ordering, deliveries, billings, and payments with the vendor.
Are members obligated to purchase a specific quantity of product?
No. BACC does not have any legal authority to enter into contracts or to obligate any member agency to enter into a contract. Bid documents do not require a public agency to purchase a minimum or guaranteed quantity of chemicals from a successful bidder. Bid documents list an estimated quantity for each participating agency, but this is only to provide prospective bidders with the information they need to prepare their bids.
Does BACC provide legal services too?
No. Interested agencies are encouraged to consult with their own legal counsel if bid documents and proposed contracts need to be reviewed.
How do we join the consortium?
Interested agencies should contact DSRSD to inquire about joining BACC. Members are not obligated to participate in any bid solicitations if they choose not to. The consortium is an informal organization, not a joint powers authority, so there are no agreements to sign. There is no cost to be added to the e-mail list or to participate in membership meetings.
Is there a cost for participating in bidding?
Consortium members have agreed to share in the administrative cost for producing bids. The actual cost is determined after bidding is complete. For bidding during 2015 this cost was $359 per bid per agency. This cost includes advertising all bids in Bay Area News Group newspapers. Agencies that must advertise in a different newspaper must make their own arrangements for this, using a legal notice that BACC will provide.
How can I get more information?
Contact Dublin San Ramon Services District:
- Louanne Ivy, Administrative Analyst: (925) 875-2398, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jeff Carson, Operations Manager: (925) 875-2345, email@example.com
- Roster and map of Bay Area Chemical Consortium member agencies
- Example bid
- Example bid addendum
- Example award letter
- BACC Overview