Water Treatment Plant Cost Overruns Approved

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Washington Street Pump Building. Courtesy of Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc.

By Terry Rogers

Eric Retzlaff, engineer for Davis, Bowen and Friedel, presented information to Milford City Council on Monday, October 28, regarding cost overruns related to the new water treatment plant project, located on South Washington Street. The overruns are related to repairs necessary for the pump house that is a necessary part of the project.

The contractor for the project, Bearing Construction, Inc., found several problems with the pump house that needed addressing. The outer façade of the building, which was brick, was originally thought to be attached to the building, but when they began to tear off the surface, they found that it was actually a floating surface. The contractor attempted to remove the brick and mortar with the intention of reusing the brick, but as the bricks were removed, they broke, requiring the purchase of a new outer surface for the building.

In addition, a wall in the interior portion of the building had deteriorated to the point that it needed replacing. The cost to replace the brick and repair the interior wall increased the cost of the project by $75,000. Councilman Dirk Gleysteen asked if it was necessary to use brick, or could another substance be used to cover the building, such as stucco.

“Knowing that the city has spent millions creating the Riverwalk, and because this area is going to be visible from the walkway, we felt that brick was the better option for covering the building,” Mr. Retzlaff explained. “In addition, because the river puts tremendous pressure on this building, there are a series of rods and supports within the walls of the pump house. We could not use siding or any other type of outer surface that required drilling or nailing unless we used x-ray each time a nail or screw was driven into the building.” Mr. Gleysteen said that since this was a ten percent cost overrun for the project, it seemed as if council should investigate cheaper methods for covering the building.

“Although I am all for saving money, stucco is probably not going to last as long as brick,” said Councilman James Starling. “Do you anticipate any additional costs on this project?” Mr. Retzlaff explained that the project was almost complete, with electrical work being the only major portion left to do. He explained that the electrical work could not be started until the interior wall of the pump house was corrected.

City council voted unanimously to transfer the $75,000 funding from water reserves to cover the cost overruns. A following vote passed seven to one to replace the existing brick façade of the pump house with new brick.