Lift station cost jumps to $900K
by Rick DeClue · News · November 30, 2012

“Look it over good,” Mayor Don Kessler told the West Branch City Council. “I don’t like change orders.”

The mayor made the comment Nov. 19 after the council had been provided cost estimates on a lift station that were approximately $178,000 higher than those previously considered. The current estimated costs of nearly $900,000 were approved 4-0 by council, with council member Mark Worrell noting that there likely would be more change orders in the future.

Kessler had pressed City Engineer Dave Schechinger of Veenstra & Kimm to explain the “add-ons.”

Schechinger said they were due to both the process for a major project like this and additional information such as a report from Terracon Geotechnical Engineering citing very poor soil conditions underlying the proposed improvements.

The process Schechinger was referring to included the preliminary plans, specs and costs used to determine general feasibility. The next step of detailed design engineering, additional data such as the Terracon report, and review and discussions with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on their specific requirements can lead to changes such as the revised cost estimates.

According to Schechinger, Terracon reported the plan would require six feet of fill material in the lift station project area. They said this could result in settlement up to 12 inches, which would be damaging to existing piping and structures.

V&K revised the plans to require minimal fill to keep the plant’s critical components above the 500-year flood plain, as requested by the city. The critical components include the control building, generator and electric transformer.

All critical elements will either be built on pads above the necessary elevation, or will have sealed structures with equipment positioned above the required elevation.

With the council’s approval, bid packages were distributed on Nov. 20 to be returned by Dec. 12. The council will review the project again at the Dec. 17 meeting.

Construction could begin in early January, with completion scheduled for October 2013.

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