Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The Westwego water plant. Westwego has scrapped a plan to replace its water treatment facility behind City Hall, deciding instead to repair and modernize the facility.

One of the bidders on a $1.3 million project to replace the municipal water storage tank in Westwego is suing city officials in an attempt to block them from awarding the contract to a rival construction company.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Jefferson Parish, Metairie-based Command Construction argues that Ashley Savarino Unlimited Construction did not have a license for municipal and public works construction when it bid for the project on April 29, as required by state law.

Despite that, Command said, its lawyers have been notified by Westwego that the city intends to give the contract to Savarino.

Command’s lawsuit asks that a judge bar Westwego from allowing construction on the storage tank to go forward with any contractor other than Command.

Although Savarino submitted the lowest overall bid, the suit says, Command’s proposal had the lowest price of any company that actually met bidding requirements, so “no ‘just cause’ under the ... law exists for rejection of Command’s bid. ”

Westwego City Attorney Joel Levy said the contract was awarded lawfully because a subcontractor for Savarino does have the required license.

The suit names both the city and Mayor John Shaddinger Jr. as defendants.

The storage tank replacement project is part of a larger plan to upgrade Westwego’s dilapidated water treatment system. A grant will fund the replacement of a 600,000-gallon water storage tank with a 700,000-gallon one, allowing the city to satisfy a state mandate.