LOUISBURG — In a 3-2 vote, the Louisburg City Council approved a $449,069 change order that keeps the wastewater treatment plant construction project moving forward.
The change order was sought to move the location of the north pump station for the new plant being built south of town. The relocation became necessary because a test pit dug at the planned site determined there was debris from a former dump site that presented construction challenges and health and safety concerns.
The test pit contained rebar, cans, bottles, tires and other items that the subcontractor laying the pipe will have to remove and sort for proper disposal, said Laura Gray, wastewater collection systems group leader for Lamp Rynearson in Kansas City, Mo. Lamp Rynearson is the project engineer.
Council members Thor McKiearnan and Kalee Smith voted against approving the change order during the Monday, Sept. 21, meeting at City Hall. Both were critical of the change order when it was first proposed to the council on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Smith asked Gray how was it possible that no one realized there was a former dump under the proposed build site. At the Sept. 8 meeting, she and a couple of other council members expressed a perceived lack of due diligence in investigating the site.
Lamp Rynearson contacted the Kansas Department of Health and Environment after discovering the debris. KDHE noted the area was a previously unregulated dump site that closed in the early 1970s. But KDHE didn't realize the dump site extended to the proposed construction area, Gray said.
Gray said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) noted the area was a previously unregulated city dump site that was present prior to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. But what KDHE didn’t realize was the extent of the dump site, Gray said.
In casting the other dissenting vote, McKiearnan was critical of the cost of the change order and the impact on taxpayers.
Gray said moving the pump station will require additional pipe and for it to be laid deeper in the ground.
A letter from Lamp Rynearson indicated the requested change order of $449,069 and 120 days pushes the new contract amount to $11,008,069 and the new substantial completion date to Feb. 4, 2021. The city’s portion of the project, about $8.3 million, has already been surpassed and the current costs are now within the state’s loan forgiveness portion of the project, up to about $12.6 million.
Mayor Marty Southard and council members Steve Town and Sandy Harris voted to approve the change order which prevented an impasse and further delays to the project.
At the council’s Sept. 8 meeting, Gray had urged the council to move forward with the change order, citing the fear of the contractor mobilizing to another location which would cost the city more money in the long run.
In June 2019, City Council members voted 4-0 to approve two bids, one of $10,459,000 from Crossland Heavy Contractors Inc. to construct the wastewater treatment facility at the site of the current south lagoons, and the other for $780,691 from M Con LLC to construct the collection improvement.
Both companies were the low bidders. When combined, the bids for the two sections of the project came in $1.4 million less than originally projected.