Engineer tells council improperly glued joints caused pool leaks
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Attempts will be made to get a longer warranty than just a year on the new piping and pool tank floor replaced at the Imperial pool after it closed this season.
That was the council’s direction given to Reed Miller of Miller & Associates, the engineering firm for the city’s new pool.
Miller attended Monday’s council meeting, as did Larry Steele, Miller’s project engineer, and two men with Simon Contractors of North Platte, the pool’s general contractor.
Miller told the council improperly glued joints caused the leaks, adding “this thing probably leaked from day one.”
Two different people worked on the plumbing, he said, “and the guy working on the deep end didn’t do it correctly.”
However, Miller said he feels confident in the pipe and concrete now.
“I don’t think the concrete or pipe will go anyplace in five years,” Miller said.
But, Mayor Annie Longan and several of the council members didn’t seem comfortable with agreeing to just a year’s warranty on the pipe. According to Miller, the warranty would run to the end of the 2011 swim season.
Longan asked what if problems come up again in three years?
“We went to a lot of trouble to get a new pool, then this happens. It was really a bad thing,” Longan said.
Miller said he will write a letter to the contractor about an extended warranty and see what results.
In a separate letter that Simon Contractors wrote to Miller & Associates, it stated they would agree to an additional $10,200 in liquidated damages for the delayed pool opening this year. The pool opened July 4, about 5 weeks later than it was supposed to.
That is on top of $16,500 assessed in June, 2009, for a total of $26,700 assessed to Simon’s if the latest $10,200 is accepted.
Another problem area at the pool has been the outdoor lockers, which have sustained damage from sunlight and the weather since installed.
Miller gave the council three options. One would repair the exterior panels on the current lockers, and move them indoors. A second would replace them totally with new steel units, and also move them indoors. Third was upgrading to new stainless steel lockers, which would withstand the elements better, Miller said. The city would be charged about $3,500 for the latter option; there would be no charge for the first two as the engineer would pick up that cost.
The council tabled action on both the contractor damages and lockers until a later meeting.
Reed Miller said he’d be willing to write off some or all of the additional engineering fees his firm has incurred due to the pool’s leaking problems.
In a letter to the City Clerk/Administrator Jo Leyland, also reviewed at Monday’s council meeting, Miller noted, “With all of the contractor’s problems, we have incurred an additional $28,400 in expenses.”
No action was taken on the information, but at least one council member asked some questions.
Doug Gaswick said he felt the engineers were responsible for the quality of the work since they had an inspector on site overseeing it.
Miller responded, “Remember, we are there to watch, but are we responsible for it not being glued right?
“We can’t be responsible for the joint not holding,” he said.
He said the engineers are responsible for the project meeting the specs.
“We said it was leaking and that doesn’t meet specs,” he said.
He said Miller & Associates will sign a certificate now that the work meets specs.
However, Miller added, “I don’t want this fee to be a contention or hang-up. We’d be happy to write off some or all of that.”
The additional engineering costs came from additional drawings required when the problems arose and other items, he said.