City Council members clashed with contractors  after it was discovered that parts of the water line installation project weren’t being completed according to the contract’s specifications.

 


City Council members clashed with contractors  after it was discovered that parts of the water line installation project weren’t being completed according to the contract’s specifications.


The contract stipulates that each length of pipe be bedded in the ground with sand. Construction workers discovered that certain sections of pipe were laid in the ground without being bedded in imported sand.


Don Brown, president of CD Brown Construction, said it’s common practice to not use imported soil when the ground in which the pipe is being laid is already sandy.


“Anytime you put in water lines, you need to bed it in sand or sandy material. You don’t want it in rock or clay,” Brown said. “When you’re in good sandy soil, you don’t need the bedding.”


Brown said his foreman and the inspector from Mehlberger-Brawley Engineering, the firm in charge of the project, made the decision to use the native soil as opposed to the imported sand.


City Manager Ralph Brugger said the construction firm did not test the native sand to see if it would be suitable for bedding the pipe.

“If they find the native material to be adequate, and it’s approved by the engineer, they can use that,” Brugger said. “I think they just misunderstood the plans and standard specs.”


The city manager did confirm that a single council member accused Brown of trying to “defraud” the city, but that it was not his opinion or the opinion of the council as a whole.


The council told Brown to remove all of the pipe that was bedded using native soil, replacing it with new pipe. Brown said it would cost $13,500 to dig up and replace the pipes, which he said is unnecessary.


“They aren’t used, they’ve never had water run through them,” Brown said. “But I didn’t argue with them. They’re the ones holding the money.”


Brugger said that any pipe that had already been buried counts as “used,” and must be inspected and replaced whether they had water inside them or not.


Brown called the city council members “unreasonable,” but said his firm would complete the contract.


“We’ve put hundreds of miles of rural water lines in, and we don’t put sand beds in around every pipe,” Brown said. “Regardless of what we’ve got to do, we are going to complete this job with good workmanship.”


Phil Banker
221-6542