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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

All procurement transactions performed by the MWRD are governed by the "1963 Purchasing Act of the Sanitary District of Greater Chicago," as amended. The Act, via Board policy, states that all purchases of $25,000 or less for commodities, and $10,000 or less for services, may be bid in the open competitive market, without formal advertisement. These types of purchases are called "Informal Contracts." 

With few exceptions, all purchases exceeding $25,000 for commodities and $10,000 for services are bid by free and open competitive bidding after they have been formally advertised. These types of purchases are called "Formal Contracts." 

There is a document entitled "Major Contracts," which identifies formal contracts that are scheduled for advertisement. This booklet is updated annually.

Some contracts, by nature, are not adaptable to competitive bidding, as stated in the above Purchasing Act (under 70ILCS 2605/11.4). In these categories, the Act provides for the award of such contracts directly by the Director of Procurement and Materials Management, without competitive bidding.

In emergency situations that affect public health or safety, contracts may be awarded, without formal advertisement, pending approval by the Board of Commissioners.

Informal Contracts

Purchases under $25,000 for Commodities and under $10,000 for Services

Purchases under $25,000 for commodities and under $10,000 for services are obtained through a "Quotation Request and Record Form" that is issued by the MWRD Buyer and sent to appropriate vendors. The form identifies a complete description of the commodity and/or service requested and is emailed to the potential supplier. Bids must be received by and are opened at 10:30 AM CST, on the date specified on the form. These type of informal bids may be submitted by email to informalbids@mwrd.org.

In the event that a vendor is unable to bid, the firm should indicate a "no bid" response on the request form and email it to informalbids@mwrd.org

Formal Contracts

Purchases over $25,000 for Commodities and over $10,000 for Services

The MWRD utilizes formal advertisement to initiate the bidding process for contracts/RFPs exceeding $25,000 for commodities and $10,000 for services. Prospective bidders are notified by:

  • An advertisement in a general circulation newspaper.
  • An invitation to bid emailed to registered vendors listed in our vendor list. 
    • When registering as a new vendor to the MWRD, the vendor would complete a vendor application specifying the “National Institute of Government Purchasing" (NIGP) codes associated with the types of goods or services the vendor can provide. Each formally advertised contract/RFP is also categorized using these same NIGP codes. A vendor categorized with a specified NIGP code that matches the categorized NIGP code of the contract/RFP will be emailed an invitation to bid as soon as the contract/RFP is advertised.      
  • Occasionally, advertisement in specialty periodicals.
  • Contract Announcements

Obtaining Formal Contract Bid Forms

All formal bids must be submitted on bid forms furnished by the MWRD. All vendors, who are interested in bidding for an MWRD contract/RFP, can download these bid forms along with related specifications online.  Simply click on Contract Annoucements. Upon download of the specifications and bid forms, your firm is considered a plan holder for that contract/RFP. A plan holder list is available online, under Contract Announcements. Any addendum for the contract/RFP will be posted online, and/or emailed to all plan holders on record. In addition, there is a feature on the Contract Announcements page where bidders can ask questions and receive responses online for contract/RFPs.

Submitting Bids on Formal Contracts using the Bonfire Portal

All formal bids must be uploaded electronically to the “Bonfire Portal” on or before the bid opening due date and time, as specified in the invitation to bid. The “Bonfire Portal” is an online repository for collecting bid responses to formal contracts/RFPs. Instructions on how to use the “Bonfire Portal” to submit a bid response are included in the bid documents. A unique Bonfire link for the electronic document submittal will be given with each contract/RFP.

All bids faxed, mailed, emailed, or hand delivered will not be considered and will be returned to the bidder.

Generally, formal construction bids must be accompanied by a bid deposit, payable in the form of a bid bond as stated in the bid document. Bid deposits are returned to the bidders, after the bid opening, according to the terms of the bid document.

Opening of Formal Contract Bids

All bids on formal contracts are opened and read publicly by the Director of Procurement and Materials Management, or designee, at the bid opening due date, as specified in the invitation to bid. 

The public bid openings can be viewed via a live stream. If you want to view the public opening of a formal contract you bid on, you can go to this live stream on the bid opening due date, as specified in the invitation to bid. 

Bid results are available in Bid Results, as soon as possible following the bid opening.

Bid Deposit Policy

The MWRD implemented a new bid deposit policy in July of 2019 as outlined below:

Bid deposits shall NOT be required for the following classes of contracts:

  • Contracts which are emergency, sole source procurements or negotiations
  • Contracts for materials, supplies and equipment
  • Contracts for the purchase of standard manufactured motor vehicles
  • Contracts for replacement parts or services for equipment that depend upon requirements
  • Contracts for professional services including Architectural and Engineering Consultants
  • Contracts for maintenance and repair services

However, the Director of Procurement and Materials Management may determine that there are critical circumstances which warrant the imposition of a bid deposit requirement, regardless of the specific exemptions stated above. Each formal bid document will notify a bidder if a bid deposit is required or not required.

Labor Agreements

On April 20, 1995, and as revised on October 6, 2017, the Board of Commissioners of the MWRD approved passage of a multi-project labor agreement (MPLA) with the Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council, to utilize union trades people where applicable. The agreement will apply to construction projects and the MWRD reserves the right to determine which contracts are included in the agreement. If the agreement is applicable to the contract, it will be stated in the invitation to bid of the bid document. 

On October 12, 2017, the Board of Commissioners approved passage of a multi-project labor agreement (MPLA) for construction work and/or repair and maintenance work located in Lake County, Illinois. If the agreement is applicable to the contract, it will be stated in the invitation to bid of the bid document.

On December 19, 2018, the Board of Commissioners approved passage of a Lockport project labor agreement (PLA) for construction work and/or repair and maintenance work located at the Lockport Powerhouse and Lockport Controlling Works. If the agreement is applicable to the contract, it will be stated in the invitation to bid of the bid document.

Process of Accepting and Awarding Contract Bids

The following is a general overview of the process:

After the public opening of formal contract bids, the bid opening results are published online, in Bid Results.

Upon identifying an apparent low bidder, post qualification data forms will be emailed to the apparent low bidder by the Director of Procurement and Materials Management. These forms must be completed and returned to the Department of Procurement and Materials Management within 21 days.

After the bid in its entirety is evaluated and approved, the lowest responsive and responsible bidder is recommended for award to the MWRD’s Board of Commissioners. Once approved for award by the Board of Commissioners, the Director of Procurement and Materials Management will notify the successful bidder via issuance of a purchase order, or via an official notification of award letter. 

Board award information is also available online in Contracts Awarded.

The department for which the service and/or commodity is provided will then administer the performance of the contract to its completion. As a public agency, the MWRD welcomes all vendors to participate in the open bidding process for all informal and formal bid opportunities. The MWRD encourages all potential vendors to use the guidelines provided in this guide to assist them in future bidding efforts.