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During the three hour February 19 Salmon City Council meeting, over an hour of discussion went into eventual approval of waste water treatment plant construction change orders.

Dick Anderson Construction is nearing completion of mandated treatment-plant upgrades. One of the change order decisions made by the council was to approve a requested three week extension which took the completion date to February 12.

At first a $7,830.77 change order to replace two segments of pipe in the backwash lift station so that the submersible pumps can be removed when needed, was denied. Design of the piping prevented removal of the pumps and the council felt the contractor should have noticed the problem during installation and should be responsible for the cost of rectifying it. Later in the discussion Project Engineer Skyler Allen of Keller Associates Inc. was contacted by telephone and the motion to deny was rescinded after Allen said Keller would pay half the cost of the work needed to eliminate the problem.

Keller Associates designed the plans for the facility upgrades and according to Dick Anderson those plans were followed therefore; the configuration interfering with removal of the pumps is a design flaw not a construction flaw. A motion was passed to approve the change order, add two working days to the project completion date and direct the contractor to proceed with the revision of backwash lift station piping. Keller will reimburse the city for half the cost.

A change order to add water heat trace and water heater electrical wiring in order to protect the waterline from freezing in the effluent channel drew heated comments from Councilman Russ Chinski as well as comments from Councilman Fred Waidely. Chinski couldn’t comprehend how a need that basic in this climate could have been overlooked and Waidely wondered why 10 gauge wiring and 30 amp breakers were not used in the first place. Allen said Keller will look into those questions. Allen confirmed that the quoted price of $10 per foot on the heat trace wire is reasonable and that it can only be purchased in 100 foot lengths. Public Works Supervisor Harry Shanafelt said the left over wiring would be of use to the city.

Keller Associates recommended approving the $4,256.29 change order and the council followed that advice on a unanimous vote.

No further time extension on project completion was requested by the contractor and none was offered by the city. A decision on the ‘liquidated damages’ clause of the construction contract, relating to fines per day for each day over the agreed upon completion date, will be discussed at a later date.

The City Council unanimously approved the contractor’s application for Payment #7 in the amount of $184,149.90 with the stipulation the payment will be made only when Anderson Construction submits the contractually required Operation and Maintenance information on the system.

City Finance Director Amy Fealko put things in perspective by mentioning the change orders being debated that evening amounted to .34 percent of the $3.5 million project. Both Waidely and Council President Jim Baker commented on how well the overall project has gone. Baker said it has been very smooth, very well done and that the city is getting its money’s worth.

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