Matter of: IT Corporation File: B-258636; B-258636.2; B-258636.3 Date: February 10, 1995

B-258636,B-258636.3,B-258636.2: Feb 10, 1995

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Protest that contracting agency improperly conducted post-best and final offer (BAFO) discussions with the awardee is denied where the record establishes that the protester would not have been the successful offeror in any case. Thus was not prejudiced by the agency's conduct of those post-BAFO discussions. Is designed to help the Russian Federation. These incinerators will become the property of the Ukrainian government. [1] The solicitation at issue was issued on March 1. With options for two additional mobile incinerators and five additional single-trailer incinerators. [2] The liquid propellants to be incinerated consist of both liquid rocket fuel and liquid oxidizer. [3] The mobile incinerators will incinerate bulk quantities of fuel and oxidizer.

Matter of: IT Corporation File: B-258636; B-258636.2; B-258636.3 Date: February 10, 1995

Protest that contracting agency improperly conducted post-best and final offer (BAFO) discussions with the awardee is denied where the record establishes that the protester would not have been the successful offeror in any case, and thus was not prejudiced by the agency's conduct of those post-BAFO discussions.

Attorneys

DECISION

IT Corporation protests the award of a contract to Andersen 2000, Inc., under request for proposals (RFP) No. DNA001-94-R-0031, issued by the Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA) for ballistic missile liquid propellant incinerators. IT primarily argues that the contracting agency improperly conducted post-best and final offer (BAFO) discussions solely with Andersen.

We deny the protest.

BACKGROUND

Under the Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction Act of 1991, 22 U.S.C. Secs. 2551 et seq. (Supp. V 1993), the United States commenced providing demilitarization assistance to the states of the former Soviet Union. The program created by this Act and other legislation, the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, is designed to help the Russian Federation, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan eliminate their nuclear and chemical weapons of mass destruction and other weapons; transport, store, disable, and safeguard weapons in conjunction with their destruction; and establish safeguards against proliferation. A series of agreements between the United States and the governments of these nations has been concluded to support such activities, among them, the Strategic Nuclear Arms Elimination (SNAE) Agreement signed between the United States and Ukraine on December 5, 1993. Under this agreement, the United States may provide Ukraine with two mobile incinerators and eight single-trailer incinerators to assist in the destruction of ballistic missile liquid propellants. Upon delivery, these incinerators will become the property of the Ukrainian government. [1]

The solicitation at issue was issued on March 1, 1994, and contemplated award of a fixed-price contract for a basic requirement of two mobile incinerators and eight single-trailer incinerators, with options for two additional mobile incinerators and five additional single-trailer incinerators. [2] The liquid propellants to be incinerated consist of both liquid rocket fuel and liquid oxidizer. [3] The mobile incinerators will incinerate bulk quantities of fuel and oxidizer, as well as residual fuel and oxidizer vapors left in ballistic missile propellant tanks after most of the propellant has been removed. The single-trailer incinerators will incinerate residual fuel and oxidizer vapors from defueled ballistic missiles, as well as small quantities of fuel and oxidizer. Under the RFP, the agency could make up to two awards, one for each kind of incinerator.

The solicitation informed prospective offerors that award would be made primarily on the basis of technical/management superiority, and that price would be "carefully considered." [4] As to technical/management superiority, the solicitation identified two areas of evaluation. Area A, "Compliance with Contract Specifications," would be evaluated on a "Go-No Go" basis; only those offerors that explicitly demonstrated compliance with the contract specifications would be considered for award. Area B, "Technical Evaluation Factors," identified seven technical factors, the most important of which was incinerator design. Among this factor's eight subfactors was safety. Area B would be point-scored, with a total weighted maximum value of 100 points. Price was not a weighted factor, but could be a significant determining factor for contract award depending on the best mix of technical and cost considerations.

Section C of the solicitation contained a set of performance specifications for each type of incinerator. Section L stated at paragraph 8(c) that offerors were required to submit technical proposals which explicitly demonstrated how the proposed equipment would comply with these specifications; "[p]roposals which [did] not meet all contract specifications [would] not be considered for contract award." Two of the performance specifications for the single-trailer incinerator are at issue here: a minimum unreplenished operating time of 20 hours, and a capability of full operations without site water. [5] Finally, the solicitation included various first article testing (FAT) requirements for both types of incinerators.

Seven offerors submitted initial proposals on May 19, and the source selection evaluation board (SSEB) established a competitive range of three, including Andersen and IT.

Andersen's incinerator design proposed to use an aqueous urea solution for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions control, and provided for a 250-gallon urea solution tank. However, while its initial proposal stated that its system "did not require any connection to water . . . since everything in the system is self-contained in the trailer," and that its design provided for "no water consumption," the proposal also stated that the system consumed "no water other than that which might be introduced to the system with the urea for nitrogen oxide control."

During the initial round of discussions, Andersen was asked, "What is the requirement for site water . . . ?" In its initial BAFO, Andersen explained that its system consumed no water other than that which might be introduced with the urea for NOx control, a maximum of 11.4 gallons of water per hour. Consequently, the water to be used during operations would be that contained in the urea solution tank.

Upon evaluating the initial BAFOs, the SSEB noted that Andersen's proposed incinerator design used the same feed lines and nozzles for both fuel and oxidizer and concluded that this aspect of the design presented a safety problem. [6] In higher concentrations, fuel and oxidizer are hypergolic, (i.e., they combust with each other without a spark or other heat source). As a result, if proper procedures are not followed to purge (wash out) the incinerator following use, a potential explosion could result if fuel was fed to the incinerator following oxidizer incineration or vice versa. Due to safety and other problems presented by the proposals of both Andersen and IT, discussions were reopened.

During this second round of discussions, Andersen was asked, among other things, to explain how its proposed system would "prevent the possibility of explosion should fuel or oxidizer be introduced into the system after burning fuel then injecting oxidizer or vice versa." The agency states that the SSEB asked this question because Andersen's initial proposal referred to its "programmable logic controller (PLC) system," but provided no details. [7] Andersen replied that its feed lines were equipped with washout connections to allow washout with water of all lines after burning fuel or oxidizer; the PLC would require such a washout if a programmed shutdown were initiated; and burner safeties and permissives would be set up such that a full washout with water was required after the normal burner and chamber purge was satisfied. In addition, all air and fume lines would require an air purge before fumes could be drawn into them.

During this same round of discussions, IT was asked, among other things, to explain how its proposal complied with the minimum unreplenished operating time requirement. The agency was specifically concerned with IT's water tank capacity, as IT's incinerator design requires significant amounts of process water during the second stage of incineration to cool (quench) the exhaust from the first stage so as to permit more complete oxidizer combustion. DNA was apparently unsure whether IT's water tank capacity was sufficient to enable the incinerator to operate for the minimum required 20 hours. IT prefaced its response by stating that it had the impression--IT does not explain how it formed this impression-- that the performance specifications concerning environmental emission limits were the most important specifications; IT believed if it needed to take exception to certain performance specifications, DNA would not compromise environmental performance requirements but "might" consider engineering tradeoffs concerning other required parameters. IT continued that:

"IT's proposal does not comply with the requirement for 20 hours of water tankage when more concentrated fuel liquids are being fired and the 180 ppm Nox limit [the required limit] must be met. IT has assumed that complying with emission limits outweighed the tankage capacity requirement. The incinerator may be operated in an `air quench' mode which fully complies with the tankage requirement but will not meet the NOx limit of 180 ppm for the 10 percent [fuel] in water case."

Consequently, the water tankage in IT's proposal was sized to fit in the available space on the single-trailer incinerator and comply with the net weight requirements--300 gallons, but had a required replenishing rate of approximately 3-5 gallons of water per minute when the system was firing 10 percent fuel in water.

Discussions were closed on August 19, and revised BAFOs were submitted on August 24. On August 25, [8] DNA transmitted the following telefacsimile "clarification" to Andersen:

"In your additional Best and Final Offer (BAFO) response you state that water will be used for all purging operations. Since the performance specification for the single trailer incinerator states `The single-trailer incinerator shall be capable of full operations without site water,' and your 13 July 1994 technical proposal, page 4, states `The system does not require any connection to water . . . since everything required in the system is self-contained in the trailer,' where is the water supply tank on the trailer for your incinerator design?"

In Andersen's August 26 reply, the firm first noted that its response would not change its revised BAFO pricing. It then confirmed that it intended to use water to purge the fuel lines in between the firing of either the fuel or the oxidizer. It emphasized that its incinerator did not require water to operate--to incinerate--but only to purge the fuel lines when either switching between the incineration of fuel or oxidizer or when the incineration process was completed. Andersen continued that:

"Therefore, a minimal amount, no more than 20 gallons per day, per trailer, of water will be required. Our assumption was that at each missile silo location, the units will have to be supplied with the rocket fuel and/or oxidizer upon arriving at the different missile silo locations, and also the refilling of the fuel and urea tanks will need to be made. At this point, we assumed that the water connection flange could also be connected to a local water supply source. If, however, absolutely no water will be available when either the fuel or the urea tanks are refilled or when the connection to the rocket fuel or oxidizer is made, then a small portable water supply tank (approximately 20 gallons), complete with necessary heater and pumping and piping attachments, could easily be furnished on these trailers."

In apparent response to this communication, DNA transmitted another telefacsimile "clarification" to Andersen:

"In your clarification response you state that a `small portable water supply tank . . . could easily be furnished on these trailers.' You also state that your response `does not change the pricing' from your 22 August submission. Does your proposal include the 20 gallon water supply tank necessary for all purging operations? NOTE: Your Best and Final Offer must stand on its own, there can be no `negotiations' to resolve issues."

Andersen replied:

" . . . the Andersen 2000 revised Best and Final Offer does indeed stand on its own. The proposal does include a twenty (20) gallon water tank, complete with necessary heater, pump and piping per incineration trailer."

No post-BAFO communications occurred between DNA and the other two offerors in the competitive range.

The August 29 final evaluation report shows the following results:

Company A Andersen IT

Technical/Management: Area A: No Go Go No Go/Go Area B: 85 75 72

Price: Single-Trailer: $20,846,438 $14,973,500 $28,528,773 Mobile: 9,998,678 4,703,000 14,897,493 Combined: 30,845,116 19,676,500 38,774,163

While Company A's proposal was technically superior to both Andersen's and IT's, since the firm proposed a cost-plus-award-fee contract in contravention of the solicitation's fixed-price requirement, it was rated "No Go" and rejected. In recommending award to Andersen, the SSEB stated that the firm's proposal for both types of incinerators met all of the solicitation's minimum requirements at the lowest cost, and satisfactorily addressed the safety issues raised during discussions, [9] thus meriting a "Go" rating. As for IT, the SSEB found that its proposed mobile incinerator met all of the solicitation's requirement, meriting a "Go" rating, but at a cost that was too high. IT's proposal for the single- trailer incinerator was rated "No Go" and rejected because it provided for only 1 hour of unreplenished operations, not the required 20 hours. Award was made to Andersen for both types of incinerators on August 31. After its debriefings, IT filed its initial protest in our Office, followed by two supplemental protests. [10]

Of the several arguments raised by IT in its protests, two intertwined issues are for consideration. [11] IT argues that Andersen's revised BAFO did not comply with the "no site water" specification, and that DNA improperly conducted post-BAFO discussions solely with Andersen in order to make its proposal acceptable. As the contracting officer now states that a noncompliant offer such as IT's would have been considered only if no other technically acceptable offer was received, IT asserts that it was prejudiced by the agency's improper actions; if Andersen's proposal was technically unacceptable absent these improper post-BAFO discussions, DNA would have considered IT further for award. In a related argument, IT challenges DNA's evaluation of Andersen's proposal with respect to a safety issue raised during the post-BAFO communications.

DISCUSSION

In negotiated procurements, any proposal that fails to conform to material terms and conditions of a solicitation should be considered unacceptable and may not form the basis for an award. Martin Marietta Corp., 69 Comp. Gen. 214 (1990), 90-1 CPD Para. 132. Here, the solicitation unambiguously stated that proposals not demonstrating compliance with all of the performance specifications would not be considered for award.

The record shows that Andersen's proposed incinerator requires water for the purging process, a process critical to the safety of the design, and the very language of DNA's initial post-BAFO transmission to Andersen indicates that the purging water is linked to the "no site water" specification:

"In your additional . . . BAFO response you state that water will be used for all purging operations. Since the performance specification . . . states `The single- trailer incinerator shall be capable of full operations without site water,' and your . . . proposal states `The system does not require any connection to water . . .' where is the water supply tank on the trailer for your incinerator design?"

While Andersen's response emphasizes the fact that water is not required for actual operations--the incineration process itself--neither it nor the agency dispute that purging the fuel lines when either switching between the incineration of fuel or oxidizer or when the incineration process is completed, will be part of the incinerator's "full operations." [12]

IT argues that Andersen's proposal did not include the necessary water supply tank until after the post-BAFO communications, and, thus, that these communications constituted improper discussions. DNA contends that the post-BAFO communications were permissible clarifications to Andersen's proposal which merely showed that it met this performance specification.

Discussions occur when an offeror is given an opportunity to revise or modify its proposal, or when information requested from and provided by an offeror is essential for determining the acceptability of its proposal. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Sec. 15.601; Paramax Sys. Corp.; CAE- Link Corp., B-253098.4; B-253098.5, Oct. 27, 1993, 93-2 CPD Para. 282; HFS, Inc., B-248204.2, Sept. 18, 1992, 92-2 CPD Para. 188. Discussions are to be distinguished from clarifications, which are merely inquiries for the purpose of eliminating minor uncertainties or irregularities in a proposal, and do not give an offeror an opportunity to revise or modify its proposal, and may be requested from just one offeror. FAR Sec. 15.601; 4th Dimension Software, Inc.; Computer Assocs. Int'l, Inc., B-251936; B-251936.2, May 13, 1993, 93-1 CPD Para. 420; Microlog Corp., B-237486, Feb. 26, 1990, 90-1 CPD Para. 227. It is the actions of the parties that determine whether discussions have been held, and not merely the characterization of the communications by the agency. 4th Dimension Software, Inc.; Computer Assocs. Int'l, Inc., supra; ABT Assocs., Inc., B-196365, May 27, 1980, 80-1 CPD Para. 362.

The first post-BAFO communication shows that the evaluators were uncertain as to whether Andersen's proposal met the "no site water" specification, which, moreover, for Andersen's proposed design, was critical to the safety of the incinerator. The drawings provided by Andersen prior to the close of discussions show a urea supply tank and a fuel tank, but do not show a water supply tank. Moreover, the language of Andersen's response to DNA's initial communication makes it clear that the water supply tank was not included in its proposal prior to the close of discussions-- Andersen's August 26 response states that it assumed site water would be available but, if it would not be, "a water supply tank . . . could easily be furnished." Since, under the terms of the solicitation, in order to be found acceptable, a proposal was required to show compliance with all of the performance specifications, and there was a question whether Andersen's proposal met the "no site water" specification, these communications were for the purpose of seeking and obtaining "information essential to determine the acceptability of" the proposal and, therefore, constituted discussions. As a result of these discussions, Andersen was improperly allowed to revise its proposal in order to add the water supply tank. [13]

The appropriate course of action when an agency discovers that a proposal within the competitive range is nonconforming is to advise the offeror of the deficiency during discussions and provide it an opportunity to submit a revised proposal. See Chadwick-Helmuth Co., 70 Comp.Gen. 88 (1990), 90-2 CPD Para. 400. However, it is a fundamental principle of federal procurement that all offerors must be treated equally. Loral Terracom; Marconi Italiana, 66 Comp.Gen. 272 (1987), 87-1 CPD Para. 182; Paramax Sys. Corp.; CAE-Link Corp., supra. The conduct of discussions with one offeror generally requires that discussions be conducted with all offerors whose proposals are within the competitive range, and that the offerors have an opportunity to submit revised offers. FAR Sec. 15.610(b); Motorola, Inc., 66 Comp.Gen. 519 (1987), 87-1 CPD Para. 604; HFS, Inc., supra; Microlog Corp., supra. Where post-BAFO discussions are held with one offeror, discussions should be reopened with all offerors in the competitive range and another round of BAFOs requested. FAR Sec. 15.611(c); 4th Dimension Software, Inc.; Computer Assocs., Int'l, Inc., supra; see also Paramax Systems Corp.; CAE-Link Corp., supra; HFS, Inc., supra. Accordingly, here, the agency should have afforded all of the offerors in the competitive range discussions and an opportunity to submit revised BAFOs.

DNA asserts, however, that IT was not prejudiced by the agency's failure to reopen discussions and permit the submission of BAFOs by all offerors in the competitive range. DNA states that "IT faced major problems with whether or not its single-trailer design would meet the minimum requirements of the solicitation," and points out that IT admitted its design would not achieve the NOx requirement when burning certain forms of fuel, and would not accommodate sufficient process water to operate on a self-contained basis for 20 hours. DNA asserts that, under these circumstances, "it is hard to imagine how IT was hurt since it is clear that its single-trailer, no matter how favorable the revised price offer might have been, would not meet the agency's requirements." In response, IT contends that the technical scores were subject to change, and that, when it initially revised its technical proposal, it also lowered its price, and would continue to do so based on further discussions; conversely, IT argues, Andersen's price would increase.

If, as here, a solicitation, proposed award, or award does not comply with statute or regulation, we will sustain the protest unless we conclude, based on the record, that the protester clearly would not have been the successful offeror absent the violation. Paramax Sys. Corp.; CAE-Link Corp., supra; see Logitek, Inc.--Recon., B-238773.2; B-238773.3, Nov. 19, 1990, 90-2 CPD Para. 401. In other words, where the agency has violated procurement requirements, a reasonable possibility that the protester would have been otherwise successful is a sufficient basis for sustaining the protest. Id. In cases where the agency has improperly conducted post- BAFO discussions with only one offeror, we have found prejudice to the remaining offerors where the record has not established that the outcome of the competition would have remained the same had they been given an opportunity to revise their proposals. See 4th Dimension Software, Inc.; Computer Assocs., Int'l, Inc., supra; HFS, Inc., supra. Nonetheless, here our review of the record leads us to conclude that IT was not prejudiced by the agency's improper actions.

While IT broadly asserts that "technical scores were subject to change," the record shows that DNA's primary technical concern with IT's proposal was its noncompliance with the minimum unreplenished operating time specification; there is no reason to believe that any other technical issues would reasonably have been the subject of further discussions. However, when discussions were held with IT regarding this concern, IT had frankly conceded that it made a business decision to engage in an "engineering tradeoff" in designing its incinerator, and that this "engineering tradeoff" precluded compliance with the minimum unreplenished operating time specification. Despite having had this noncompliance pointed out to it during discussions, and despite the lack of any indication in the record that the agency would be willing to accept this or any other engineering tradeoff, [14] in its revised BAFO, IT did not alter its design to attempt to comply with the specification, but elected to proceed with the noncompliant design. Thus, the record affords us no basis to conclude that IT, which had every reasonable opportunity to submit a fully compliant proposal, would do so during reopened discussions. See Federal Data Corp., B-236265.4, May 29, 1990, 90-1 CPD Para. 504. Further, the record is devoid of any current statement by IT that it would have--or could have--revised its proposal to comply with this specification. See Colonial Storage Co.--Recon., B-253501.8, May 31, 1994, 94-1 CPD Para. 335,

In addition, there is nothing in the record to suggest that if, after further discussions, IT were able to meet the minimum unreplenished operating time specification, it could do so at a price competitive with Andersen. IT's proposed price for the single-trailer incinerator was twice that of Andersen's, and significantly higher than that of Company A. It is true, as the protester reminds us, that it is not uncommon for offerors to lower their prices in the later stages of negotiations, even where the government's requirements do not change. HFS, Inc., supra. However, IT lowered its prices between the initial and revised BAFO by less than 10 percent. IT's assertion that Andersen would have to raise its price to comply with the specifications is belied by the post-BAFO discussions themselves, during which Andersen agreed that the additional water supply tank would not change its price.

The record also shows that a key reason for rejecting IT's proposal was its significantly higher price. The SSEB's report on the initial BAFOs, wherein IT's prices were less than 10 percent higher than its final prices, specifically stated that "designs aside," IT was the most expensive proposal, and "by cost alone" should not be considered for award. Finally, the source selection statement itself noted that an additional reason for rejecting the proposal of Company A, a clearly technically superior proposal, was its "extremely high" prices; these prices were significantly lower than IT's prices.

In sum, although DNA improperly conducted post-BAFO discussions with Andersen, the record establishes that IT was not prejudiced as a result.

The protest is denied.

1. The United States may also provide additional incinerators of either type to Ukraine. While the original solicitation contemplated providing these incinerators to both Ukraine and the Russian Federation, all requirements related to the Russian Federation were deleted by subsequent amendment.

2. One distinction between the two types of incinerators is the number of trailers required to transport them: the single-trailer incinerator is limited to one trailer, and while the mobile incinerator has no such limitation.

3. The liquid rocket fuel is unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine, and the liquid oxidizer is nitrogen tetroxide.

4. The RFP incorporated by reference the clause at Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Sec. 52.217-5, "Evaluation of Options," which states that offers will be evaluated for award purposes by adding the total price for all options to the total price for the basic requirement.

5. The latter requirement was included because site water might not be available at the Ukrainian missile sites where the single-trailer incinerator might be used.

6. The SSEB identified two other safety problems with Andersen's proposed design related to its use of air atomization and its use of urea injection. The SSEB raised these concerns with Andersen during discussions, and the record shows that the SSEB was satisfied with the firm's responses. IT does not directly challenge the agency's evaluation of these safety concerns, one of which was also of concern with respect to its own proposed design.

7. This question was raised in connection with the performance specification requiring the single-trailer incinerator to have automated process control instrumentation with incinerator operations safety interlocks appropriate to the incinerator design.

8. The record is not clear concerning the precise dates of the following telefacsimile transmissions, but there is no question that they occurred after the submission of revised BAFOs.

9. In view of Andersen's satisfactory responses, the SSEB had raised the firm's total weighted technical score from 73 to 75. It is not clear how much, if any, of this increase is attributable to information derived from the post-BAFO communications.

10. Since IT's initial protest was filed more than 10 calendar days after award was made, performance of the contract has proceeded. See 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.4(b) (1994).

11. In its initial protests, IT also argued that DNA improperly failed to identify its deficiencies with respect to the single-trailer incinerator. In its report, the agency responded to this allegation, and, in its comments, Andersen did not rebut the agency's explanation. As a result, we consider the allegation to be abandoned and will not consider it further. Datum Timing, Div. of Datum Inc., B-254493, Dec. 17, 1993, 93-2 CPD Para. 328. In addition, in both its initial protest and its second supplemental protest, IT argued that Andersen's proposed incinerator improperly exceeded the solicitation's NOx emissions limits. In its supplemental response to this allegation, DNA provided a detailed explanation of exactly why Andersen's incinerator complied with this requirement, and, in its supplemental comments, Andersen does not challenge this explanation except to refer to it as an "attempt to further explain [the matter] away." We consider this allegation to be abandoned as well. See Data Sys. Analysts, Inc., B-255684; B-255684.2, Mar. 22, 1994, 94-1 CPD Para. 209.

12. IT also alleges that DNA improperly relaxed the minimum unreplenished operating time requirement for Andersen by allowing it to incinerate only oxidizer or only fuel during a given 20-hour period, instead of requiring it to be capable of switching between the two. Even if this specification could be read as IT suggests, which DNA disputes, the record shows that Andersen's incinerator was designed for switching capability and, in fact, is capable of such switching. Andersen's representative states that its incinerator could be "shut down and started up (with or without waste stream switching)," and that "in direct response to [IT's suggestion] that the operator of the system might be called upon to switch from [fuel] to [oxidizer] in a given operating day . . . that condition was tested and the system functioned perfectly." IT does not challenge these statements. Finally, in its January 30, 1995, submission, IT argues that the solicitation required separate feed lines for both fuel and oxidizer. However, IT was made aware of this basis of protest by the November 10 filing of the agency report, which clearly indicated that Andersen's design did not have separate feed lines. As a result, this argument is untimely raised. 4 C.F.R. Sec. 21.2(a)(2).

13. While the agency determined that Andersen's revised proposal was fully compliant, IT argues that DNA improperly accepted Andersen's assurances that its water supply tank would be sufficient to safely purge the system. The agency contends that there was no requirement to permit it to evaluate the volume of purge water required by Andersen's design; moreover, given that the solicitation requires successful completion of a FAT prior to entering into production, there was no need to rely on estimates of the quantity of purge water needed. In this regard, Andersen's representative states that, in 1 day of testing, the purge system was activated on four separate occasions without replenishment of the water supply tank, and then the nozzle-only purge system--normally activated in the event of a power failure--was activated three times to prove that not only could the unit be shut down and started up on at least four occasions in a single day, but that this could occur in the same day in which three power failures occurred. After these purges, there was adequate liquid for an additional full-cycle purge. IT correctly asserts that this statement substantiates the importance of the water supply tank to Andersen's purging operations, but this does not in any way call into question the adequacy of that water supply tank for purging. Under the circumstances, we have no basis to conclude that DNA's evaluation in this regard was unreasonable.

14. DNA had previously rejected as nonresponsive two of IT's proposed single-trailer incinerator designs because they failed to comply with certain performance specifications.