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Wet Soil, Water Line Work Add to New Public Works Building Cost

Plum Council approved $74,083 worth of change orders for the project earlier this week.

Crews working on the new Plum public works facility in the Renton area of the borough have encountered a few unexpected problems with soil and waterlines—and it's going to cost an extra $74,000.

On Monday, borough council approved $74,083 worth of change orders for work  at the site because crews came across low-quality soil and a waterline that doesn't exist.

Assistant Borough Manager Greg Bachy said about 20,000 yards of low-quality soil was discovered.

"Hopefully we don't run into too much more," he said.

Though core borings were performed at the site before the work began, Bachy said they didn't reflect how bad the soil really was. He explained the core borings were taken in the summer—when it was mostly dry—and the bulk of the excavation was done in the fall, so the soil was wet.

Currently, that soil is sitting in an area of the site that is expected to be developed in the future. It must be moved or sold in the future, Bachy said.

Crews also discovered that the water line they expected to tap into was missing.

Engineer Robert Mitall said surveys of the property showed one continuous water line along the property, however, that's not the case. He said there are two water lines that never connected.

"Somebody made the assumption that because there's one (a water line) up here and one down here that they connect," he said.

Borough Manager Mike Thomas said it's not an uncommon problem with old systems.

Bachy said more line will be needed to tap into the closest water line to the site.

The total amount budgeted for the project—$8.7 million—includes a $700,000 contingency fund in case of an emergency or unexpected costs, and $1 million for fees and services.

Bachy said the project remains within the allotted budget.

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Robert January 18, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Why isn't the engineering firm responsible for these costs? I would expect that the site work was performed prior to beginning work. If the firm responsible for the site work hasn't done their job correctly , then why aren't we holding them responsible ? Not the tax payers!

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