B-166555, SEP 19, 1972

B-166555: Sep 19, 1972

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PROTESTANT'S CONTENTIONS REGARDING THE FAILURE OF DSA TO LIST CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS IN THE IFB ARE WITHOUT MERIT. THAT PROTESTANT'S PRODUCT WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD IF RESPONSIVE TO THE IFB. THE PROTEST IS DENIED. TO UNIT CHEMICAL CORPORATION: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 5. THE AIR FORCE STATES THAT WATER-SOLUBLE PACKETS WERE REQUIRED INSTEAD OF THE CELLOPHANE PACKETS SUGGESTED BY YOUR CONCERN BECAUSE WATER SOLUBLE PACKETS ELIMINATE THE LITTER PROBLEM ACCOMPANYING THE DISPOSAL OF CELLOPHANE PACKETS IN AIRCRAFT. THE RECORD DOES NOT INDICATE THAT THE WATER-SOLUBLE PACKAGING REQUIREMENT WILL PREVENT YOUR FIRM FROM OFFERING ITS PRODUCT SINCE IT IS REPORTED THAT WATER- SOLUBLE PLASTIC FILM IS AVAILABLE DOMESTICALLY ON AN UNRESTRICTED BASIS.

B-166555, SEP 19, 1972

BID PROTEST - SPECIFICATIONS - CONTENT DENIAL OF PROTEST BY UNIT CHEMICAL CORPORATION UNDER AN IFB ISSUED BY THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY FOR AN AIR FORCE REQUIREMENT OF AIRCRAFT LAVATORY DEODORANT. PROTESTANT'S CONTENTIONS REGARDING THE FAILURE OF DSA TO LIST CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS IN THE IFB ARE WITHOUT MERIT. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS REPRESENT THE MINIMUM NEED FOR THE PROCUREMENT, AND THAT PROTESTANT'S PRODUCT WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR AWARD IF RESPONSIVE TO THE IFB. ACCORDINGLY, THE PROTEST IS DENIED.

TO UNIT CHEMICAL CORPORATION:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 5, 1972, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE, CONCERNING YOUR PROTEST UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. DSA400-72-B-6817, ISSUED BY THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY (DSA) ON MAY 25, 1972, FOR AN AIR FORCE REQUIREMENT OF AIRCRAFT LAVATORY DEODORANT IN ACCORDANCE WITH PURCHASE DESCRIPTION NO. 6840-2 DATED MAY 17, 1972.

YOU CONTEND THAT PARAGRAPH 3.2.7.1 OF THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION IMPROPERLY REQUIRES THE DEODORANT TO BE PACKAGED IN A WATER-SOLUBLE FILM PACKET; THAT THE DESCRIPTION IMPROPERLY OMITS A REQUIREMENT FOR A MINIMUM "HARD WATER TOLERANCE OF 500 PPM" FOR THE ITEM AND DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR THE ELIMINATION OF "HEAVY METALS;" THAT THE REQUIREMENT COULD BE MET BY USE OF FEDERAL SPECIFICATION 0-D-001277 (GSA-FSS), JANUARY 6, 1967, OR THE USE OF SERVICE CART "POUCHES" INSTEAD OF PACKETS; AND THAT THE USE OF THE ABOVE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION IMPROPERLY RESTRICTS COMPETITION FOR THE ITEM TO CELESTE, INC., IN CONTRAVENTION OF OUR DECISION, B-166555, JUNE 4, 1969, TO YOUR CONCERN.

THE AIR FORCE STATES THAT WATER-SOLUBLE PACKETS WERE REQUIRED INSTEAD OF THE CELLOPHANE PACKETS SUGGESTED BY YOUR CONCERN BECAUSE WATER SOLUBLE PACKETS ELIMINATE THE LITTER PROBLEM ACCOMPANYING THE DISPOSAL OF CELLOPHANE PACKETS IN AIRCRAFT. IN THIS REGARD, THE DEPARTMENT STATES THAT SUCH PROBLEM CANNOT BE CURED BY DISCARDING THE EMPTY PACKETS INTO THE LAVATORY AS YOU CONTEND SINCE THIS DISPOSAL METHOD WOULD OBSTRUCT THE LAVATORY CIRCULATION SYSTEM. ADDITIONALLY, THE DEPARTMENT STATES THAT PERSONNEL OF THE MILITARY AIRLIFT COMMAND REPORT FREQUENT BREAKAGE OF CELLOPHANE PACKETS, RELEASING CONTENTS ON THE HANDS OF PERSONNEL AND INTO THE AIRCRAFT WHICH WOULD BE PARTICULARLY UNDESIRABLE ABOARD AIRCRAFT CARRYING WOUNDED PERSONNEL. BASED ON OUR REVIEW OF THE PRESENT RECORD, WE CANNOT DISPUTE THE DEPARTMENT'S POSITION THAT WATER-SOLUBLE PACKAGING REPRESENTS A MINIMUM NEED FOR THE PROCUREMENT EVEN THOUGH SUCH PACKAGING MAY BE MORE EXPENSIVE THAN CELLOPHANE PACKAGING. ALSO, THE RECORD DOES NOT INDICATE THAT THE WATER-SOLUBLE PACKAGING REQUIREMENT WILL PREVENT YOUR FIRM FROM OFFERING ITS PRODUCT SINCE IT IS REPORTED THAT WATER- SOLUBLE PLASTIC FILM IS AVAILABLE DOMESTICALLY ON AN UNRESTRICTED BASIS, AND THAT YOUR CONCERN STATED IN A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 18, 1968, TO DSA THAT YOU HAD SUCCESSFULLY PACKAGED 8-GRAM WATER-SOLUBLE PACKETS OF YOUR DEODORANT.

CONCERNING YOUR CHARGE THAT ONLY CELESTE'S PRODUCT WILL BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION UNDER THE IFB, THE DEPARTMENT STATES THAT IT HAS NO EVIDENCE THAT CELESTE IS THE ONLY CONCERN WHOSE PRODUCT IS ACCEPTABLE; THAT THE SMALL DOLLAR VALUE OF THE PROCUREMENTS, RATHER THAN TECHNICAL RESTRICTIONS, APPARENTLY PRECLUDES SOME MAJOR FIRMS FROM BIDDING ON PROCUREMENTS OF THE DEODORANT; AND THAT ONE MAJOR CHEMICAL FIRM HAS ADVISED DSA THAT IT INTENDS TO BID ON THE NEXT IFB FOR THIS ITEM. ALTHOUGH YOU CONTEND THAT THE AIR FORCE FAILED TO COMPLY WITH OUR JUNE 4, 1969, RECOMMENDATION THAT THE AIR FORCE TAKE ACTION TO PREVENT A REPETITION OF A SOLE-SOURCE NEGOTIATED AWARD TO CELESTE UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE IT APPEARED YOUR PRODUCT SHOULD ALSO HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED FOR AWARD, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT THE USE OF THE SUBJECT PURCHASE DESCRIPTION FOR AN ADVERTISED PROCUREMENT REPEATS THE EARLIER ERROR. IN THIS REGARD, WE DO NOT FIND ANYTHING IN THE AIR FORCE REPORTS TO THIS OFFICE INDICATING THAT YOUR PRODUCT WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR THE AWARD IF IT IS RESPONSIVE TO THE PACKAGING TERMS OF THE IFB.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR STATEMENTS THAT THE SUBJECT REQUIREMENT COULD BE PROCURED UNDER FEDERAL SPECIFICATION O-D-001277, IF THE SPECIFICATION WERE AMENDED TO INCREASE THE SIZE OF THE PACKET AND THE NUMBER OF PACKETS PER UNIT, AND THAT USE OF SERVICE CART "POUCHES" WOULD BE MORE CONVENIENT THAN PACKETS, THE AIR FORCE RESPONDS AS FOLLOWS:

"STANDARD SPECIFICATION P-D-210 (O-D-001277) MATERIAL IS UNSUITABLE FOR USE. THE SERVICING SYSTEM REQUIRES DETERGENT IN ADDITION TO A DEODORANT TO CLEAN THE LATRINE TANK AND SYSTEM PLUMBING IN THE CIRCULATING TYPE AIRCRAFT SYSTEM. THE STANDARD TYPE WAS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH WASTE WASH WATER CONTAINING SOAP WHICH DRAINS INTO THE LATRINE SYSTEM. THE STANDARD O-D-001277 MATERIAL DOES NOT CONTAIN A DETERGENT.

"RESIDUES FROM STANDARD MATERIAL FORMED GUM AND SLUDGE AFFECTING VALVE OPERATION.

"MATERIAL AND PACKAGING REQUIREMENTS OF O-D-210 (NOW O-D-001277) WERE LOOKED AT AND DETERMINED UNSATISFACTORY FOR USE IN AIRCRAFT CIRCULATION TYPE LATRINE SYSTEMS. OUR EFFORTS WITH GSA TO MODIFY SPECIFICATION O-D 001277 WERE REJECTED. WE ARE NOW PROCEEDING TO DEVELOP A NEW SPECIFICATION FOR A DEODORANT THAT WILL BE SUITABLE FOR USE IN AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS. SPECIFICATION O-D-001277 IS GENERALLY UNSUITABLE, IN ITS PRESENT FORM, FOR AIRCRAFT USE. THE ONLY REFERENCE TO AIRCRAFT IN SPECIFICATION O -D-001277 IS THE OLD STYLE CHEMICAL TOILET OR BOLT DOWN "CAN" TYPE OF EQUIPMENT. THE CORROSION TEST IN SPECIFICATION O-D 001277 IS MADE USING SURGICAL KNIFE BLADES, WHICH ARE UNRELATED TO AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS. ALSO, O-D -001277 IS UNNECESSARILY RESTRICTIVE SINCE IT PERMITS ONLY THE USE OF A QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND FOR THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT. IMPROVED OR MORE DESIRABLE DEODORANT INGREDIENTS ARE APPARENTLY AVAILABLE AND SHOULD BE USED WHERE RESULTS WOULD BE BENEFICIAL. AFPID 6840-2 DOES NOT RESTRICT THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT TO ANY ONE PARTICULAR CHEMICAL COMPOUND. SHELF LIFE IS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR AND AFPID 6840-2 HAS A TWO-YEAR STABILITY REQUIREMENT OPPOSED TO A ONE-YEAR REQUIREMENT FOR SPECIFICATION O-D-001277 WHICH OFTEN RESULTS IN CONSIDERABLE WASTAGE DUE TO OVERAGE MATERIAL BEING THROWN AWAY. *** SERVICE CART POUCHES ARE NOT USED AS THIS METHOD OF SERVICING WAS ELIMINATED DUE TO THE CONVENIENT USE OF THE PACKETS ABOARD THE AIRCRAFT. PLACING THE MATERIAL IN SERVICING VEHICLES WOULD RESULT IN CONSIDERABLE WASTAGE SINCE WATER FROM THE VEHICLE IS USED TO FLUSH AS WELL AS TO FILL THE AIRCRAFT SYSTEM."

WE CANNOT DISAGREE WITH THIS POSITION.

YOUR FINAL OBJECTIONS CONCERNING THE PROCURING ACTIVITY'S PRESENT DECISION NOT TO LIST A MINIMUM HARD WATER TOLERANCE FOR THE DEODORANT, OR TO REQUIRE THE ELIMINATION OF HEAVY METALS IN THE MATERIAL, ARE ANSWERED BY THE AIR FORCE AS FOLLOWS:

"THE WATER HARDNESS PROBLEM HAS NOT BEEN DEMONSTRATED OR EXPERIENCED WITH THE AFPID PRODUCT. THE TYPE OF ACTIVE INGREDIENT USED IS AVAILABLE WITHOUT RESTRICTION AND IS APPARENTLY A NONQUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND WHICH IS COMPATIBLE WITH THE SOLUBLE PLASTIC FILM. THIS COMPOUND IS APPARENTLY NOT AFFECTED BY HARD WATER. HOWEVER, TESTS ARE CONTINUING, AS WITH ANY NEW PRODUCT, TO DETERMINE PRECISE SPECIFICATION LIMITS, IF NECESSARY, ON HARD WATER. THE HARD WATER LIMITS IN SPECIFICATION O-D- 001277 CANNOT BE AUTOMATICALLY ASSIGNED TO THIS DIFFERENT TYPE PRODUCT.

"THE OTHER PROBLEMS CITED WITH HEAVY METALS, TOXICITY, AND EPA REGISTRATION ARE BEING CONSIDERED AND WILL BE A REQUIREMENT IF APPROPRIATE. OUR EFFORTS TO CONDUCT LABORATORY TESTS RELATED TO AIRCRAFT USAGE, TEST METHODS, AND OTHER SPECIFICATION TESTING WERE INITIATED WHEN THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION WAS FIRST ISSUED CONTAINING MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS. THIS IN-HOUSE EFFORT WILL RESULT IN ISSUANCE OF A FORMAL SPECIFICATION FOR AIRCRAFT USE."

IN VIEW THEREOF, AND INASMUCH AS THE AIR FORCE STATES IT IS CONTINUING RESEARCH IN THESE AREAS, WE ARE NOT IN A POSITION AT THE PRESENT TIME TO QUESTION ITS DETERMINATION IN THESE MATTERS.

FOR THE REASONS SET FORTH ABOVE, YOUR PROTEST MUST BE DENIED.