The West Williams Community Sewer and Water Rehabilitation Project has been set back by about a week, as the contractor in charge of the improvements has encountered a maze of old water and sewer infrastructure.
“(The project) has come across a few obstacles,” Williams City Administrator Frank Kennedy told the City Council last week. “There are pipes that should not be there that are there; there are pipes that should be in a certain place that are not. There have been laterals put in that we had no idea about, and so the project at date is dealing with some overruns.”
Kennedy said that the contractor — Sanco Pipelines Inc. — was only about one-third of the way through the project. The setbacks are projected to cost the city somewhere between $150,000 and $175,000. Kennedy said that the city knew there would be some unknowns associated with the project going in.
“When you have an old city like this, and the record keeping was not as robust as it should have been 40, 50 or 80 years ago, there are always going to be some unknowns,” Kennedy said.
“There’s a lot of stuff under those streets, and the only way to find out is to get under there and get it done. We will keep accurate records as we go through this project, hopefully next year we move down (another) alley and do that there as well. This is the first step of a long process.”
Kennedy said the project needs to be completed by Sept. 30, and that, even with the delay, he expects work to wrap up by the end of August.
The project consists of the construction of replacement of water and sewer infrastructure on the city’s west side, running approximately 3,100 feet along the alley between Sixth and Seventh Streets, from the elevated watertower to B Street. It also covers seven historically problematic areas for the sewer system, the majority of which have been addressed, Kennedy said.
The bulk of the money for the project — $1.5 million — came from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. The CDBG funds covered the sewer portion of the work, but the city spent some money to cover the rennovation of the water lines.
“It was initially going to be just the sewer project, but because we went ahead with the water lines because we were already doing working in the alley. There are (also) some regulations in place for distance between water and sewer lines, and we didn’t think we could meet those just replacing the sewer,” Kennedy said.
The initial engineer’s estimate for cost of the project was about $2.2 million, but the bid for the project came in lower than anticipated, saving the city some costs.
“We were lucky and appreciate that we had an offer that came in lower than anticipated,” Kennedy said. “I’d like to say we could have predicted (the issues with the old lines), but going back into the history of the city, there are pipes in the ground where we don’t know where they are.”
“That no surprise to me that they find that stuff thrown in there,” Mayor John Troughton said at the meeting last week.
Kennedy informed the council that a city employee had been dedicated to the project and that further modifications had been made to the project to cut down on cost. He added that he believed the project was in good hands.
“We have a great deal of confidence in Sanco,” Kennedy said.