Sanitation officials are withholding final payment on a nearly $750,000 North Broadway sewer line project because of subpar manholes.
After a lengthy discussion this week, Cortez Sanitation District board members rejected a final-pay request of nearly $85,000 from D&L Construction. Despite a recommendation from CSD manager Tim Krebs to pay the balance, the board withheld a 10 percent retainage fee designed to ensure that the project meets design plans.
Contractor and CSD board member Jim Candelaria challenged a report from Krebs that stated the project had been satisfactorily completed.
“We’ve spent $700,000; let’s make sure its right,” Candelaria said, adding that a manhole had yet to pass CSD’s own performance testing. “Fix the damn thing.”
The North Broadway sewer line replacement project was awarded to D&L Construction of Cortez in February. When announced, the 120-day infrastructure project was scheduled for completion by mid-July. Permits and unforeseen rock issues delayed construction.
Located mainly between the 200 and 800 blocks of North Broadway, the project included the replacement of more than 3,000 linear feet of clay pipe with both 8-inch and 10-inch PVC pipe and 17 new manholes. The outdated and deteriorating 3-foot sections of clay pipe are believed to have been installed starting in the 1950s.
At its meeting on Monday, Nov. 9, CSD revealed that 1 in 4 of the project’s new manholes had to be tested at least three times before passing inspection. A manhole on Piñon Street has yet to pass a CSD vacuum test, Krebs said.
Despite reassurances from Krebs that Winwater Works officials in Grand Junction, a distributor of the concrete manholes used in the project, had vowed to remedy the faulty manhole, CSD board members expressed continued doubts.
“They are free and clear in two years,” said Candelaria, citing the D&L installation warranty would expire in 2017. “We’re still here in 60 years.”
Krebs was unable to definitively explain the repair work that Winwater officials had devised or when the repairs would be completed.
“I’ll make sure we are taken care of,” Krebs said.
Board members subsequently instructed Krebs to encourage D&L officials to draft an agreement with Winwater to have the questionable manholes retested in 18 to 24 months.
According to Krebs, Winwater blamed the subpar manholes on personnel changes at the manufacturing level.
D&L owner Dave Waters previously served as CSD president until he was ousted in a landslide election in 2014.
Earning $30 an hour, Harold Foster was paid by CSD to inspect the North Broadway improvement project. He resigned as a CSD board member in 2014.
During public comments at this week’s meeting, none of the five current CSD board members indicated that there was a conflict in contracting with Waters or Foster on the North Broadway project when questioned by The Journal.
The $728,000 infrastructure improvement project was funded by an Energy and Mineral Impact Fund grant through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and a 45 percent match from the Cortez Sanitation District.